Kitchen & Bath Design News

AUG 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Thermador Contest Open For Entries IRVINE, CA — Thermador has announced its fourth "Kitchen Design Challenge," inviting profes- sional designers, builders, architects, remodelers, kitchen dealers and students an opportunity for awards and national recognition. This year's contest will feature four all-new categories for submission: Exceptional Kitchen, Compact Kitch- en Suite, Original Innovator/Out of the Box Space and the Student Concept Kitchen. The contest guidelines encourage entry of a Thermador kitchen completed within the con- test period from January 1, 2017 through May 15, 2020 (contest entry deadline). There is no limit to the number of entries that can be submitted by a single person, team or company. As part of the $110,000 prize purse, a total of 44 regional winners will be selected. Of those, 36 each will receive a $1,000 cash prize, and eight honorable mention winners will receive $500 for the best integration of Thermador appliances in their kitchen and home design, contest officials said. All regional winners will also win a trip for two to an awards gala in southern California, where entries will be eligible for additional awards and national winners will be announced. Information, including official rules and entry form, is available by visiting www.Thermador.com/ designcontest. Dishwasher Facility Opened by BSH NEW BERN, NC — BSH Home Appliance Corp., corporate parent of the Bosch, Thermador and Gaggenau appliance brands, has opened an expanded dishwasher manufacturing facility in New Bern, NC, providing the company "with a larger footprint to support the organization's continued growth," corporate officials an- nounced. The 100,000-sq.-ft., $32-million expansion adds to the previous 245,000-sq.- ft. facility, said the company, which recently marked the 10-millionth dishwasher produced in the New Bern factory. "BSH is proud of our longstanding history in New Bern, NC, where we employ more than 1,400 people and have produced high-quality dishwashers for over 20 years," said Christofer von Nagel, BSH Home Appliances CEO and president. BSH said the expansion will enable the company to drive greater operational efficiencies, introduce new equipment and processes, further ensure the quality of its dishwashers and prepare for future production growth. BSH Home Appliances Corp. celebrated the opening of its newly expanded dish- washer manufacturing facility in New Bern, NC with a ribbon cutting. generated annual sales that placed it among the top 10 cabinet manufacturers in North America. Even at the time of its closure, the company was said to have a considerable number of cabinet projects (along with accompanying dealer and consumer deposits) in various stages of the production pipeline, and many dealers expressed surprise that a lack of sales could possibly have been a contributing factor in the company's apparent demise. A revivified company – under French or any new ownership – would likely be operated on a far-smaller scale than Wood-Mode's previous iteration. Simply getting the company up and running would doubtless be a daunting, months-long task, fraught with numer- ous – perhaps insurmountable – challenges. Aside from assembling an experienced management team, rehiring both new and laid-off employees and gauging the status of unfulfilled cabinet orders, ownership would have to navigate through what will certainly be a complex maze of legal and financial issues. Wood-Mode's new ownership would also need to regain the faith of both laid-off employees and a dealer network that was severely shaken by the company's sudden closure. French, it was reported, was planning to reach out to Wood-Mode dealers in an effort to preserve relationships and secure future business. However, many dealers – once exclusive to Wood-Mode and its semi-custom line, Brookhaven – have since turned to replacement cabinet lines and begun the process of redefining their own corporate identities, reassessing showroom displays and dealing with the impact of the closure on anxious, bewildered customers. Many, having been burned by Wood-Mode's closure, would presumably be hard-pressed to assume the risk of continuing an exclusive relationship with any cabinet vendor – let alone one fraught with uncertainty. Similar sentiments apparently hold true for former Wood-Mode employees. French's announcement, while sparking celebration and guarded optimism among some, has been met with skepticism among others who have expressed lingering bitterness, disillusionment and betrayal over the way the closure has been handled. Former em- ployees also remain awash in questions regarding the status of suspended benefits, including uncollected pensions and 401(k) funds, according to the "Wood- Mode Friends" Facebook page. Several unemployed former employees who've been holding out hope that the Wood-Mode factory could somehow reopen said on Facebook that they applaud- ed French's acquisition bid and would welcome a return to work. Others say they have accepted new jobs. And still others – puzzled, embittered and disillusioned by the closure – seem skeptical and uncertain about a potential return to a company that many once held in the highest esteem. Stung by a sense of betrayal and frustration, they say they're adopting a guarded, wait-and-see approach to any potential acquisition. Editor's Note: Regular updates regarding the status of Wood-Mode and the impact of its closure will be provid- ed via digital news bulletins, as well as through postings on KBDN's web site, www.kitchenbathdesign.com. — Eliot Sefrin, KBDN Publisher Emeritus Probe to Continue on Cambria Petition Contesting Quartz Imports WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. trade officials have determined that imports of quartz surface products from India and Turkey have caused material injury to domes- tic quartz suppliers, triggering the continuation of an investigation to determine whether the imports should be subject to antidumping and countervailing duties. A preliminary determination of injury was announced last month by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in response to petitions filed in May by Cambria, the Le Sueur, MN-based producer of natural quartz surfaces. Cambria's petitions allege that low-priced imports of slabs and fabricated quartz surface products from India and Turkey are being unfairly dumped in the U.S., and that Indian and Turkish producers receive unfair subsidies from their governments. These actions, according to Cambria, violate international trade rules and have caused material injury to the U.S. quartz surface products industry. "Sourcing and re-selling unfairly traded quartz surface products is not a long- term strategy for success," said Rebecca Shult, executive v.p. and general counsel at Cambria. "Rather than switching from Chinese imports to other dumped and subsidized quartz surface products, fabricators should purchase domestic prod- uct, especially as foreign producers have the potential to ship large volumes of pre-fabricated products into our country at extremely low prices." "Cambria remains committed to standing up for American workers, American businesses and American manufacturing," she added. Cambria's unfair-trade petitions – like similar petitions involving imports of cab- inets, vanities, ceramic tile and other kitchen/bath products – are being considered by both the ITC and the U.S. Commerce Dept. as part of a lengthy, multi-faceted decision-making process that could take up to a full year to complete (see related stories, Pages 18 & 82). The Commerce Dept. has already initiated antidumping and countervailing duties investigations of imports of quartz surface products from India and Turkey. The agency is expected to issue its preliminary countervailing determinations in October and its preliminary antidumping determinations in December. August 2019 • KitchenBathDesign.com 15

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