News Developments – March 2021

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AHF to Expand Somerset Facility

Pennsylvania-based Hardwood flooring manufacturer AHF Products plans to invest $2.5 million and create 20 full-time jobs at its Somerset, KY facility in Pulaski County in early 2021. According to published reports, the investment enables AHF to manufacture a new line of durable end-grain Hardwood flooring. Work on the expansion commenced before the end of 2020.

“We continue to invest in our Somerset plant due to the quality of the products and dedication to future growth that we see from employees,” said Brian M. Carson, CEO of AHF Products. “Our customers continue to see value in U.S.-manufactured products, and this new development not only creates new-to-the-world technology but continues our commitment to domestic manufacturing and grows our share of U.S.-manufactured wood products.”

Headquartered in Mountville, PA, AHF Products employs over 2,250 people across its seven manufacturing locations – six in the U.S. and one in Cambodia. AHF purchases over 110 million board feet annually. AHF buys 4/4 green and kiln-dried Red and White Oak, Hickory and Maple mostly in Nos. 2 and 3 Common grades. AHF will also purchase over 38 million square feet of HDF and over 68 million square feet of veneer to operate in its engineered wood flooring facility. 

AHF carries solid and engineered wood flooring and a full line of accessory products, including trim, cleaners and adhesives. The flooring products include a wide variety of species, grades and sizes to fit the customers’ needs. 

To encourage the investment in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) last fall preliminarily approved AHF Products for up to $80,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

For more information on AHF Products, visit www.ahfproducts.com.

Best Home Furnishings Grows

Paoli, Indiana-based Best Home Furnishings, which purchases Soft Maple and Poplar in upper grades, recently announced plans to expand its operation here, creating approximately 125 jobs. The announcement comes after Best Home Furnishings received grants from the Town of Paoli secured in collaboration with Orange County Economic Development Partnership and the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

According to a company statement, despite a pandemic, nation-wide furloughs and supply chain disruptions, Best Home Furnishings boasted unprecedented growth in demand for its residential furniture products. The company, headquartered in Ferdinand, IN, saw an 85 percent increase in September, 2020 orders over the same time the previous year and from August 30 – September 5, 2020, the company set a record for orders received. The increase in demand has necessitated rapid expansion and hiring.

More details are available at www.besthf.com.

British Manufacturer to Open Operations in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that Wren Manufacturing Inc., a British manufacturer of custom kitchen cabinets, will establish its North American headquarters and a manufacturing center in the Hanover Industrial Estates in Hanover Township and Sugar Notch Borough. This will create a combined 360 new jobs at both locations in Luzerne County, PA.

According to the company’s website, Wren incorporates Oak into some of its kitchen products. Wren received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $1.25 million Pennsylvania First grant, $392,400 in funding for job training through the WEDnet program and $720,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs. The company may also be eligible for DCED’s Manufacturing Tax Credit program.

More information is available at www.wrenkitchens.com.

Canada’s Final Ruling on Dumping and Subsidy Issues with China Due 

In Ottawa, Ontario before the end of 2020, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) initiated an inquiry to determine whether the dumping and subsidizing of decorative and other non-structural plywood exported from the People’s Republic of China caused or threaten to cause injury to Canadian plywood producers.

Initiation of the CITT’s final injury inquiry followed the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) fall preliminary determinations that sources of Chinese plywood panels, including those used in the manufacture of furniture and cabinets, are being sold into Canada below normal market value. The CBSA reported it would immediately subject the vast majority of Chinese plywood import sources with provisional duties ranging up to 203.08%. Also, the CBSA failed to find significant evidence of dumping or subsidies to impose any provisional duties on five Chinese companies.

The CBSA announced it would issue a final dumping and subsidy determination by Jan. 21, 2021. The CITT’s final injury determination is expected by Feb. 19, 2021.

Learn more at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca.

Forest Service Offers 5th Graders Free Access to National Forests and Grasslands

The USDA Forest Service in Washington, DC, announced it will expand its Every Kid Outdoors program to offer fourth-and fifth-grade students and family members fee-free access to more than 2,000 sites on national forests and grasslands for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. A new voucher is available for download now through August 31, 2021.

“The year’s events have made it harder for many students to get out to their local National Forest and to use their Every Kid Outdoors Annual 4th Grade Pass as intended,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “We hope the added time will encourage millions of families to use their free pass to get out to their National Forest, connect with nature, and experience the mental and physical benefits of the great outdoors.”

Every Kid Outdoors is a federal public lands partnership created to inspire fourth-grade students and their families across America to recreate, explore cultures, discover connections to nature and spark a lifelong passion for America’s great outdoors. The program focuses on children ages 9–11 who, research shows, are beginning to understand the world around them, and are uniquely receptive to engaging with nature and the environment. By focusing on this age group year after year, the program aims to ensure every child in the United States has the opportunity to create a life-long connection to America’s big backyard.

To obtain a free 5th Grade Voucher, visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, click on the “Hey, fifth graders!” banner, and download a voucher. The voucher is valid through Aug. 31, 2021 to correspond to the traditional school year.

Learn more at: www.fs.usda.gov.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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