Westridge Cabinet’s large manufacturing plant and showroom in Gasoline Alley was shut down due to the lingering recession and falling housing starts. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Westridge Cabinets falls victim to falling housing starts

Lingering recession blamed for its bankruptcy proposal

Westridge Cabinets had weathered nearly four decades of Alberta’s booms and busts.

But the 37-year-old company couldn’t survive this latest prolonged recession that has lingered since 2014.

A letter posted to customers on the locked door of the company’s closed Gasoline Alley operation states that Westridge Cabinets is a victim of the difficult economic conditions being experienced across the province.

“It is with great regret that we inform you that Westridge Cabinets Ltd. has continued to encounter significant financial difficulty and has filed a notice of intention to make a proposal under the Bankruptcy Act.”

The letter, dated July 8 from company management, states the bankruptcy process will hopefully “allow Westridge Cabinets to engage in a process to address its obligation to its creditors.”

Westridge had been billed as “the largest fully integrated cabinet manufacturer in Western Canada.”

The blame for the company’s shutdown was pinned on the prolonged economic recession that resulted in substantial losses “with no end in sight.”

New housing starts have fallen by 10 per cent annually over the last five years, and the company’s revenues have fallen accordingly, the letter states.

According to the management’s statement, shareholders did what they could to try to keep the operation going — from investing their own capital to reduce operating costs and cover cash losses, to exploring a potential sale or joint venture, to approaching various levels of government for support.

But all of these attempts proved unsuccessful.

The letter thanks Westridge’s customers and employees and pledges to take “all reasonable steps” to ensure the “disruption” to them and to suppliers is minimized.

A long-time Westridge Cabinets customer, Mitch Whitman, stopped by on Thursday to try to buy some extra hinges, and was shocked to see such a large, well-established company had folded.

Having had Westridge cabinets installed in two of his homes, Whitman said it had a “beautiful” product and a great showroom.

He’s saddened that more jobs are now lost in the Red Deer area.

How many is not known, since a company manager could not be reached for an interview on Thursday.

Its website states that Westridge Cabinets was the largest fully-integrated cabinet manufacturer in Western Canada, with all of its products crafted in-house — from design to production to installation.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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