Trouble knocks at Feather River door company

After laying off perhaps dozens of workers March 16, Feather River Wood & Glass isn’t saying much about transitions in the company—or rumors that it plans to file for bankruptcy as early as this week.

The company was started in 1971 by a Chico craftsman, Dan Evers, who created exquisite cabinetry and furniture alongside his father. Feather River Wood & Glass display cases and particularly the hardwood doors have been sought after as top-quality, and the company had contracts with large retailers like Home Depot.

The phone purposefully rang off the hook this week at the Forest Avenue administrative office, and a Monday visit elicited a referral to Mark Medearis, the president of the door division, who, like other company officials, did not return several calls for comment.

A drop-by on Tuesday found a gentleman who offered up a few scraps of information but identified himself only as a “company representative.”

“Basically, the company is doing a reorganization,” the mystery man said. That can be a euphemism for bankruptcy, but the man said the company’s board members are still “weighing their options” on that front.

“They are exploring the divestiture of the door [side],” he said. That would certainly decrease operations at the door factory in Durham, but the man said it would not be closed. He declined to state how many people work there but acknowledged last week’s layoffs “significantly reduced the numbers out there.”

The bankruptcy rumors were so prevalent this week that the tellers had them down to a specific day—Wednesday, March 22. It was also suggested that a new mix in the ownership is driving whatever changes are at hand.

The local factory was recently expanded, according to the company’s Web site. Feather River Wood & Glass, which counted 225 employees last year, also has a glass factory in Mexico and another factory in Louisville, Ken., and has been franchising out retail shops. One year ago, the company acquired a display-making company from Maryland.

Evers, who started the company in a garage, built the company into a player in the world market before—confirmed another company representative, Bob Watters, door sales vice president—selling his interest in it. A man who’s subletting Evers’ house said he is in Mexico for a couple of years and could not be reached. He, too, had heard Feather River Wood & Glass was not doing well.