WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - “I've got a two-month-old daughter that I just got back from doing maternity leave and so I was just in shock, and really nervous about what the future holds," said Emily Smith. 

Emily has worked at MasterBrand Cabinets in Newton for years, but she had no idea what she was walking into Monday.

“He broke the news to us, unfortunately, that everybody's getting laid off. Everybody's last day is December 15.”

This means in just over a week, Smith and all 450 of her coworkers won’t have jobs.

The company tells us the closure is because after a period of "unprecedented growth," there's been a "softening" in the housing market, leading to a sharp decline in orders for the cabinets produced in Newton.

"Not at Christmas would have been really nice. More than 10 days would have been really good too."

Smith says as hard as it was to hear the news, she’s surprised by how much the company is doing to help the workers get through it. Including things like offering pay and benefits through February, and bringing in experts like Tucky Allen to make sure as many people as possible have a new job by next week.

“I have had several, up to 10 employers call that are very interested, they have positions available," said Allen. "One employer even told me they can absorb up to 180 of these affected employees.”

Allen says as tough as these situations are, for many, they might end up being a blessing in disguise.

"There are definitely employers out there that want to hire you, in some cases, you might even get a pay raise out of it, depending on what employer," Allen said.

“I really hope that we can all find a next great place to go to that it doesn't cause us any hardships and the friends that I've made up here. I hope I can stay in contact with them," Smith said. 

Allen says later this week, he’ll have a kind of onsite job fair here at the plant where those employers will be doing on-site interviews with anyone interested, and some companies even plan on hiring folks on the spot.


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A Newton cabinet-making company will shut its doors, costing 450 people their jobs. MasterBrand Cabinets will shut down its operations, located at 831 S. Columbus Avenue in Newton.   

"After a period of unprecedented growth in our stock business, we have seen a softening in the housing market which has led to a sharp decline in incoming order demand for cabinets produced in Newton.  Today, we, unfortunately, announced the difficult decision to idle production in our Newton, KS cabinet manufacturing facility," said MasterBrand Vice President Farand Pawlak.  Production is expected to continue until mid-December.

Pawlak said the company is committed to helping its 450 Newton employees. MasterBrand will provide additional compensation and continued benefits, along with other resources from the employee assistance program.  Workers learned of the plant's future at a plant-wide meeting Monday afternoon.