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  • Michael J. Knell

AP Inds. shutters doors

LAURIER-STATION, Quebec - Canadian case goods producer AP Inds. has closed its doors, laying off about 150 workers. In an interview with a French language newspaper, the company's president cited years of declining sales for the decision.
     The company ceased operations on Aug. 16. However, at press time company president Daniel Benjamin said he's working on a plan to bring the company back with help from the Quebec government.
     A specialist in birch adult, youth and baby furniture, the company was founded in 1950 by Arthur Houle and has remained in his family since then. The company has showrooms in Toronto's International Centre and in the International Home Furnishings Center in High Point.
     Earlier this month, AP announced the resignation of Ken Loh II, its vice president of sales. He joined the company in 2010 to spearhead its U.S. sales and marketing efforts.
     AP made news last year when it became the first case goods maker in North America to have both its adult and youth product lines certified to the GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality standard.
     It was also the first Canadian manufacturer to introduce an independently functioning wood furniture robotics manufacturing system.
     Daniel Benjamin, who has been president of AP Inds., since 2000 told Le Journal de Québec - a French newspaper serving Quebec City - several new marketing initiatives had been implemented over the past few years but all failed to reverse "a continued drop in demand" for the company's product line.
     In July 2011, AP's work force accepted salary concessions as part of a bid to keep the company afloat.
     "In spite of everything, the company could simply not continue its activities and remain profitable," Le Journal reported in French.
     In a letter to his employees, Benjamin thanked his staff. "Thank you all for having kept this factory running by your work, your concessions and your perseverance," is a translation from the French.
     Furniture/Today could not reach Benjamin for additional comment.

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