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Wood-Mode set to reopen next week

The custom cabinetry manufacturer was forced to close its doors in mid-March because of the coronavirus.

KREAMER, Pa. — Hundreds of people are set to return to work at Wood-Mode next week.

The custom cabinetry manufacturer remains one of Snyder County's biggest employers even after a very up and down 2019.

Right now, there are only about 50 people in the plant under a partial waiver to fill emergency orders.

Those employees are wearing face masks and working more than six feet apart.

Starting on Monday, as Snyder County moves into the "yellow phase," all of Wood-Mode's 393 employees will be able to get back to work.

"The square footage of our facility is approximately one and a half million square feet, so with 400 people coming back we have enough space that there would be plenty of room for all of them," Wood-Mode Human Resources Manager Gretchen Schwalm said.

The facility was forced to halt production due to the coronavirus in mid-March. 

That was the second time over the past year Wood-Mode closed its doors.

Last May, the plant suddenly shut down because of financial problems. 

It was the biggest employer in Snyder County at the time, with 900 workers.

Four months later in September, Wood-Mode returned under new ownership. 

The place now employs nearly 400 people, and it is still considered to be one of the larger employers in the area.

Wednesday was Sarah Miller's first day back on the production floor.

"It's just like, oh yeah, I definitely remember how to do this. It's just like riding a bicycle. You don't miss a step," Miller said, smiling.

The plant has hand sanitizing stations ready, and employees will be making more than 250 cabinets a day once again.

"You can definitely tell that we are putting more of an effort in," Miller said. "We don't want Wood-Mode to ever fail, so we're going to work ten times harder if we have to. We're going to bring Wood-Mode back up."

Given all that's happened over the past year, the employees are especially glad to be back.

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