Norman Howard, owner of Beaumonde Design Kitchens, says he’s going out of business honourably.
Norman Howard, owner of Beaumonde Design Kitchens, says he’s going out of business honourably. BRUCE THOMAS

Kitchen builder opts to walk off

NORMAN Howard has made the toughest decision any business owner can face.

He has chosen to close down his company, Beaumonde Design Kitchens, to escape owing debt to others.

The Coffs Harbour business, employing 12 staff, will cease to trade next month after its current kitchen contracts are completed.

A downturn in the local building industry, failed developer projects, and a tough economic climate are being blamed for the closure.

Mr Howard says the decision to close up shop is entirely his own and the company is not in receivership or under administration.

“I want to go out of business honourably and don’t want to take anyone else down with me,” Mr Howard said.

“It’s devastating. It’s like a death in the family.

“After 16 years of hard work I’m just giving it all away.

“I plan to honour all of our remaining jobs, pay out my staff and creditors and walk away with nothing but my dignity and a much larger mortgage.”

Beaumonde Kitchen’s showroom, on the corner of Hogbin and Hi-Tech Drs, will close when the work runs out next month.

“We have managed it so that all our staff have jobs to go to. They have stuck with us through thick and thin.

“We need to thank our creditors, who have been wonderful in supporting us, and we have arranged for all accounts to be paid.

“We are still getting inquiries from the general public and we are referring people to our competitors. Hopefully that business helps them to stay afloat in tough times,” he said.

Like many other local building and trade companies, Beaumonde Kitchens has been crippled by the failed Perle public housing complex in Harbour Drive.

“Although the direct hit to us was $30,000 over the December/January period, total losses were $130,000 – money that now will never be recouped.

“We have also felt the impact from the failed Simcorp high-rise at Park Beach, and the collapse of G.J Gardner Homes Coffs Harbour, which have also destabilised the building industry.”

As an outgoing business owner, Mr Howard says he hopes the Federal Government acts quickly to stimulate manufacturing, building and small business.



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