BY JOE OLENICK firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The plan was to expand to the building on the other side but Candlelight Cabinetry waited, wanting to make sure it was safe to cross the street.
In 2013, the West Avenue manufacturer saw an 18 percent increase in business, said co-owner Bob Sanderson. So far in 2014, business is up 20 percent from where it was a year ago.
Candlelight builds cabinetry, doors, frames and similar products for dealers to sell. The company works with dealers throughout the state, as well as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New England, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
Candlelight bought the former mill in 2007, potentially adding 120,000 square feet to the company’s facility. The previous year, the city sold a portion of Michigan Street to Candlelight so the company could expand in its present location. Sanderson said Candlelight Cabinetry saw a 20 percent increase in business in 2007, creating a need for more space.
”We needed more than we had,” he said.
But then the housing market fell apart, so Candlelight stayed put.
Now, as a result of the growth seen over the last couple of years, Candlelight is expanding to the other side on Michigan Street. That building, located on the west side of the facility, was a flour mill until 2004, grinding wheat for Robin Hood and Multifoods. The east side of Candlelight was once Corson’s Printing.
The expansion will see the assembly line doubling in size as well as the addition of approximately 40 positions over the next year or so, Sanderson said.
Seeing a local business succeed and expand is a great thing for Lockport, said Mayor Michael W. Tucker. Part of the reason the city sold the slice of Michigan to Candlelight was to encourage growth, the mayor said.
”It’s exciting, putting Lockport to work,” Tucker said. “They have a lot of great things going on, they have an excellent business model. It’s great for the community.”
Sanderson and company President John Yakich started Candlelight in 1990, partially because Sanderson’s Kitchen World needed a reliable provider at the time. Kitchen World, once located on South Transit, has since moved south to Transit Road in Williamsville across from Eastern Hills Mall. Sanderson’s son Randall is now running Kitchen World.
Candlelight currently employs about 200 people with the majority, about 40 percent, working in finishing. Offering products in 10 different kinds of wood and over 200 different finishes, Sanderson said Candlelight’s flexibility and quality is the reason for the company’s success.
”We can build whatever the customer wants,” he said. “I mean, we have 90 different door styles.”
Candlelight proudly buys American made products, when it can, Sanderson said. Also, remaining in Lockport is important to the company, he said.
”We have a great workforce,” Sanderson said. “And the Lockport area has a manufacturing history. Many who work here are the children, grandchildren of workers. They have a deep understanding of quality.”
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.