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DeFehr Furniture closing Winnipeg plant, hundreds of layoffs expected

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DeFehr Furniture says it is shutting down a Winnipeg production plant, leaving hundreds of employees looking for work. Will Reimer reports. – May 5, 2022

DeFehr Furniture says it is shutting down a Winnipeg production plant, leaving hundreds of employees looking for work.

In a notice posted to its website this week, DeFehr said it will end casegoods manufacturing at its facility at 125 Furniture Park this summer.

Read more: Furniture maker Palliser expanding operations, hiring 300 workers in Winnipeg

The move will affect 224 employees, the company said.

“The decision to cease operations was the result of severe supply chain disruptions and raw material sourcing challenges over the past two years, combined with balancing the pace of price increases that were passed along to customers,” the notice, dated Wednesday, reads.

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Company president and CEO, Andrew DeFehr, told 680 CJOB the supply chain problems now leading to costly delays for the business follow months of hard times through the pandemic.

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“At some point you run out of equity in the business,” he said.

“You try to run at a loss, hoping that you can eventually get to break-even and get to greener pastures, (but) we were looking at the medium (and) long term and thought ‘I don’t think we can make it’.”

DeFehr said the facility will officially close Aug. 11.

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“We wanted to make sure that we can meet all of our employee obligations … and meet all of our obligations to our customers that have ordered our product,” he explained.

Affected employees will be offered support programs, DeFehr said, including a job fair hosted by the company.

Read more: Winnipeg’s food services sector struggles as job vacancies remain high

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“To extent that we can help the employees find other employment that is as good or better, that will be one of our main goals and focus over the next three-and-a-half months,” he said.

“We’re sad to have to make this decision, it was very difficult.”

–With files from Richard Cloutier

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