Deals made for sites of two failed Snyder County businesses

·2 min read

Jul. 9—Two separate properties formerly occupied by failed businesses operated by Maurice and Deb Brubaker have been sold or are under agreement.

On Friday, Selinsgrove developer Robert Grayston purchased at a Snyder County Sheriff's sale the five-acre Middleburg property and two buildings that had been the Stanley Woodworking plant and warehouse for more than two decades until the Brubakers' took over the business two years ago before closing and filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.

In Freeburg, Colonial Furniture owner Dennis Van has under agreement the building which the Brubakers had leased from him and used to launch William Penn Cabinetry in February 2020 before the fledgling business permanently closed last October and is also in bankruptcy. Van recently sold another building nearby to Abdul Ali, a Mount Pleasant Mills businessman involved in the chicken business.

Ali could not be reached for comment Friday.

Grayston said he got the first look at the former Stanley Woodworking property on his way to the sheriff's sale Friday where he purchased the property, including a 33,000-square-foot plant and 17,000-square-foot warehouse, for $680,000.

"There is a shortage of buildings in our area and it's cheaper to buy than build," said Grayston who plans to lease the buildings.

The location is ideal since it's just off Route 522 and easy to access, he said.

Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz said he has "no doubt" that Grayston will find tenants.

"It's proof that there are development projects in our region, and now in our county," said Kantz. "A lot of businesses are looking to get out of big cities. They want our reliable labor and stable tax climate."

Attending Friday's sale was former Stanley Woodworking owner R. Tom Fitzgerald, who is still owed $1.7 million by the Brubakers. He said the equipment was sold at auction several weeks ago.

"It's a disgusting way to end a nice, profitable business that was good for a lot of families," he said.

A third business the Brubakers acquired last year, Wood-Metal Industries in Selinsgrove, also closed this year and is in bankruptcy court. Wood-Metal is not associated with Wood-Mode LLC, of Kreamer, which has been operating successfully since 2019 when Middleburg business owner Bill French purchased the custom cabinet-manufacturing business.

Maurice Brubaker, a tax specialist in Lewisburg, and Deb Brubaker have been accused by several former employees of failing to pay them and dropping their medical and insurance benefits before the bankruptcy filings.

District Attorney Michael Piecuch referred allegations of insurance fraud against the couple to the state Attorney General's Office late last year.