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ACQUISITION BREATHES NEW LIFE IN CABINET FIRM

Forest Materials Inc., a Cheektowaga company that does custom millwork, has acquired Buffalo Maid Cabinets Inc. and plans to add eight or nine workers by summer, the firm's president said.

Bruce Hoffman, Forest Materials' president and chief executive officer, said the acquisition will allow his company to greatly broaden its product line by adding the mass-produced cabinets that Buffalo Maid produces to its own customized millwork.

By offering a broader range of cabinets and wood products, Forest Materials expects to cut its costs and be able to bid for a wider variety of jobs. Many projects call for the plastic laminated cabinets and counters that Buffalo Maid produces, as well as the custom wood millwork that Forest Materials does, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he expects to nearly double Buffalo Maid's seven-member work force during the next two or three months. He also plans to hire two more workers for Forest Materials, which would bring the combined company's work force to about 50. Buffalo Maid's entire staff will remain with the company, as will former owner Stephan Krasinski, Hoffman said.

Because of the deal, which closed
in mid-February, Buffalo Maid will move out of its current facility in the former Worthington Compressor plant at 71 Roberts Ave. in Buffalo. Those operations will be shifted into a 10,000-square-foot addition that Forest Products is building at its current plant at 1665 Harlem Road.

Construction is expected to start on the addition by early April and be completed by June 1, Hoffman said.

Buffalo Maid, which was founded in 1960, had been for sale for a couple of years as Krasinski began to think about retirement. But his initial efforts to sell the business and the firm's real estate together had not been successful as the company's work force declined from 16 people in 1989, Hoffman said.

Krasinski then separated the two elements and Forest Materials became interested. Krasinski plans to work at Forest Materials for another three to five years, Hoffman said.

Forest Materials, which was founded in 1952, has worked on architectural, commercial and industrial projects throughout Western New York and the United States, including Pilot Field, the Miami Zoo and the Washington, D.C. convention center. About 90 percent of Buffalo Maid's cabinets are used in commercial projects.

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