Canadian mass timber maker Structurlam Mass Timber Corp. on Wednesday (January 18) temporarily closed its 288,000-square-foot factory in Conway, Arkansas after a customer contract with Bentonville-based Walmart Inc was cancelled. announced that it would cease operations and reduce staff. .
Structurlam CEO Matthew Karmel said in a news release:
In the release, the company initially did not name any customers. In response to a question from Talk Business & Politics, a spokesperson confirmed that Walmart has canceled the lucrative deal.
However, a Walmart spokeswoman said Structurlam’s claim that the retailer was responsible for terminating the partnership “would not be accurate,” providing the following statement.
“Walmart was informed today by the CEO of Structurlam that it will cease operations at its Mass Timber plant in Conway, Arkansas. We are proud of the tremendous financial and operational support that Walmart has provided to Structurlam.Wood for the project.Where possible, we use materials from our Arkansas home base.
In December 2019, Structurlam announced that $90 million investment in Conway facility First announced in 2017 is the construction of a new Walmart corporate campus in Bentonville.
officials with Structureis based in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, and made the announcement with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Dan Bartlett, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Walmart. The new facility was once run by Nucor and he was expected to create 130 jobs.
“We are excited about the technology and opportunities for further growth that Structurlam brings to Arkansas,” Hutchinson said at the time. “The company’s partnership with Walmart is an example of how this expansion will benefit the state’s timber industry.”
The world’s largest retailer plans to use more than 1.1 million cubic feet of Arkansas and Arkansas bulk wood in its new home office campus in Bentonville, making it the nation’s largest bulk wood user. It’s a campus project.
“Structurelam is uniquely positioned to offer Walmart and the State of Arkansas a digital design collaboration and an innovative approach to mass timber manufacturing,” Bartlett said at a press conference in December 2019. I’m here. “With their help, we were able to realize our goal of connecting our employees with nature and the beauty of Arkansas through our new home office project.”
Carmel heads the company less than 1 yearFormer CEO Hardy Wenzel said, told Northwest Arkansas Business Journal in 2020 The new Walmart corporate campus is the largest project Structurlam has delivered.
“We have done many large-scale projects with other iconic artists. [companies],” he said. [that] We have a similar desire for sustainability, a desire to build faster and build the best places for people to work. [Walmart] The project will be the largest mass timber project for some time due to a number of factors. Probably worldwide. “
According to Structurlam, the economic advantage of mass timber is that the structural elements of a project can be designed, modeled and prefabricated off-site, compared to traditional on-site buildings using steel and concrete. Accelerate your production schedule by up to 25%.
Structurlam was the first manufacturer to bring mass timbers to the North American market.
Karmel explained that because the company is no longer constrained by its exclusive production contract with Walmart, it can now support new customers with more than one million cubic feet of Glulam and CLT mass timber products annually.
“To put this in context, our state-of-the-art Conway factory has enough capacity to build a 200,000-square-foot office building every two months,” he added. , a key step in our North American growth strategy, we continue to work diligently to identify new solutions to better utilize this facility.
“We thank the Conway community and our state and local business partners for their support and look forward to continuing to be a vibrant part of this growing economy,” Carmel said.
“We appreciate the dedication and hard work of Conway employees and look forward to welcoming them on new customer projects,” said Jody Doak, Plant Manager.
Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, said the news of the Structurlam plant closure was unexpected.
“As with layoffs and closures, our top priority is affected employees and getting them back to work as soon as possible,” he said.