Round Top Shuts Down in Ontario and Ohio

July 23, 2008
The Ontario and Ohio operations of Round Top Window Products closed their doors in June. Dianne Waterhouse, founder and owner of the specialty window producer, says the company was forced to declare bankruptcy due to problems associated with the start-up of the Ohio facility, compounded by the downturn in the housing market.

Round Top closed the doors on its Ontario facility in June.

Two West Coast facilities—one in The Dalles, Ore., and the other in Kamloops, B.C.—are under a different ownership structure and continue to operate.

Round Top’s operations in Brantford, Ont., and Orrville, Ohio, are now in the hands of trustees, who are looking for a buyer, Waterhouse reports. "We are hoping that someone buys the assets of the Ontario plant and gets it back up and running," she states. "The staff we have there is just unbelievable. I may have been the face of Round Top, as far as the industry is concerned, but the people there are the real asset.” When the Brantford plant shut down, the plant had 32 employees. At its peak, 75 people worked in the facility.

Waterhouse also hopes there will be a buyer for the Ohio facility, which she notes is equipped with new state-of-the-art equipment.

Problems getting equipment delivered to Round Top’s Ohio facility led to bankruptcy filing.

That facility, she continues, was designed for highly efficient bending of vinyl, aluminum, wood, and cellular components, and production of specialty windows including specialty grids and impact glass production. It was going to be the first of five constructed in the U.S., Waterhouse explains, with the goal to have facilities within eight hours of all major customers by 2011.

The problems arose when all the equipment for the Ohio plant was delivered in June last year, with the exception of the glass equipment from supplier. Despite the sizable investment and a staff trained and ready to go, the plant was only able to “limp along the best we could, all the while just eating up all our cash flow,” she notes.

In December 2007, Round Top filed a suit against the equipment supplier, Ontario-based Corsteel Lindgren Automation. “The one good thing about the bankruptcy,” Waterhouse notes, “is now the banks take over that suit.”

The trustees, she reports, are hoping to find buyers for the operations by the end of August. While Waterhouse has no long-term plans for the moment, she says her immediate plans now include assisting in the sale and start-up of the two facilities in any way she can.

“I can’t say enough about the people in this industry,” Waterhouse adds, despite the experience. “We have great customers. I’ve been trying to call all of them to thank them for their support over the years,” she continues. ”The one message I’d like to get out to the industry is, ‘if I missed anyone, I’d like to apologize.”

Parties interested in finding out more about the Brantford facility can call Peter Pichelli at Scott & Pichelli (905/632-5853). Information on the Ohio facility is available by contacting Tom Ogg at National City (330/742-4139).