Seasonal layoffs at Crystal Cabinet Works

Crystal Cabinet Works laid off 23 workers early last month but expects to begin hiring back in the spring, according to Jill Crandall, assistant to the president at Crystal.

The current number of employees remaining is 299.

Jeff Hammer, owner and president of the 64-year-old company, said the number of employees at Crystal normally goes down during the Christmas holiday.

When the housing market bubble burst several years ago, cabinet manufacturers were among the industries that felt a marked business downturn, with Crystal Cabinet Works being no exception.

With the decreased demand for cabinets following the housing collapse, Crystal laid off approximately 300 workers in 2009, and closed its plant in Sauk Rapids. The Princeton plant has continued production and in recent years was upgraded with the addition of a dealer showroom on the east end of the plant.

Crandall, last week, summed up how the company has been riding the ebb and flow of orders since the housing collapse:

“After responding to the initial adjustment of the cabinetry industry a few years ago,” she said, “we continue to ride the ups and downs the industry faces. Our customers’ needs continue to evolve and the volume of orders continues to fluctuate. We must respond and right size our business to the needs of our customer. That included responding with a seasonal layoff recently.”

Crandall called the economic recovery a “crawl, walk, run journey,” with Crystal Cabinet Works “just emerging from the crawl stage,” and said that Crystal’s outlook is a “good one.”

“We have learned that promotions and product changes have caught the attention and business of our customers. Currently, we are working on two large projects to position us for successful growth. They include product, technology and process improvements.”