Volume 13, Issue 2 - March/April 2009


CPFilms Announces Layoffs

In the current economic climate, the word “layoffs” has practically become a part of the daily news. Those fortunate enough to work in an industry that hasn’t made news of this nature are mostly braced—waiting their turn. This unfortunate reality reached the window film industry recently through one of its domestic giants: Solutia-owned CPFilms Inc. Two years ago the company laid off 39 employees at its Martinsville, Va.-based production plant following an “efficiency review.” Recently it laid off 45 at the same facility. In 2007, representatives for Solutia Inc., CPFilms’ parent company, assured that the layoffs at that time had nothing to do with cutting costs at the facility. This time around, however, the company is citing a decrease in demand for its products mainly as cause.

“With the global economy, we’ve seen that the demand for our products has declined and we’re just working to take the necessary steps to align our production and inventory with the market’s demand,” explains Solutia’s public affairs representative Melissa Hammonds. 

Severance packages were issued to the 45 employees affected, including extended health care benefits. Hammonds also says CPFilms is working with contacts within the Martinsville community to ensure the best possible transition. 

Nonresidential Construction to Dip Further

If commercial and retail projects have helped prop up your company’s flat glass business, you may want to squeeze every possible project into the immediate future, because it is looking less and less likely that this segment will sustain activity through a return in the residential market. In fact, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released a report recently that forecasts an 11 percent decrease in nonresidential construction spending for 2009 in inflation adjusted terms. But the bad news could help generate a silver lining in the market, as the commercial decline is expected to lower overall construction costs.

“The downturn in nonresidential activity has helped stabilize construction costs,” explains AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “For example, prices for steel, gypsum products, lumber and cement have all come down recently which makes taking on projects more attractive to developers.”

Courage Bros. Start the Year with an Icy Splash

Todd and Trent Courage, owners of Courage Distributing, entered the New Year under extremely frigid conditions. As if the current economy wasn’t enough, these Canada-based window film distributors decided to take it a step further by willingly plunging into the icy cold waters of Lake Ontario. But they were not alone. January 1, nearly 500 others joined in as part of the 24th annual Courage Brothers’ Polar Bear Dip. Approximately 5000 spectators watched the charitable event and all net proceeds were donated to World Vision Canada to help provide a dependable source of clean water for the people of Kahi in the Umutara region of Rwanda.

This year, Solamatrix Inc., a St. Petersburg, Fla-based film manufacturer, sponsored the event. “As our exclusive distributor of Solamatrix products throughout Canada for more than 15 years and more recently in five U.S. states, Courage Distributing is one of our closest business partners,” says Angie Howard, marketing communications manager for Solamatrix. “Todd and Trent, along with many volunteers, have found a fun way to help others in need. Their efforts are commendable and we are proud to be associated with them and the Polar Bear Dip.”

With more than $380,000 raised to date, representatives for Courage Distributing and Solamatrix say the goal of this year’s event is to raise more than $60,000. The money will be used to drill new wells and build reservoirs for the people of Kahi, Rwanda. The new water system will reduce the suffering caused by drinking dirty water and will help save children hours of wasted time, which can now be spent at school.

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