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Wick files for bankruptcy (UPDATE)

By Paul Snyder

Officials at Mazomanie-based Wick Building Systems Inc. have two options after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — reorganize or sell the company.

“I’m surprised,” said Mazomanie Village President Lowell Holcomb. “I’d heard they were closing down a couple of divisions, but this is the first I’ve heard of this. I don’t know what to say.”

According to a Monday evening statement attributed to company CEO Jeff Wick, the housing market decline created an unsustainable balance sheet for Wick Building Systems. Wick and other company representatives were unavailable before deadline Tuesday for further comment.

According to the statement, the company this week will ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin for authority to continue daily operations and to seek interim financing.

“This filing does not spell the end for Wick Buildings, and indeed is essential to our plans to continue in business,” according to a letter Wick sent to company employees Monday.

There are no stated timelines for reorganizing or selling the company, which has been based in the Mazomanie area since the 1950s and builds and supplies materials for homes, agricultural and commercial buildings. The company has two other divisions, John Wick Homes and Wick Manufactured and Modeled Homes.

The news is a reflection of the homebuyer’s market, said Kent Disch, government affairs director for the Madison Area Builders Association. Federal tax credits offered in the past year boosted the housing market, he said, but south central Wisconsin still has a lot of unsold homes.

“Things are still tough in terms of building,” Disch said. “Permit numbers are still down. Anecdotally, I’m hearing that at least phones are ringing and people are shopping, but there are still empty new homes that need to be soaked up.

And if someone has the option of moving into a new home or building one, which one do you think they’ll take?”

According to notices Wick filed earlier this month with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, as many as 494 employees faced layoffs, with 142 resulting from the company’s decision to close the Wick Manufactured and Modeled Homes plant in Marshfield. The Mazomanie-area layoffs were listed as possible.

Holcomb said he has not contacted company executives since the layoffs were announced, but, he said, he had hoped Wick would rebound after scaling back operations.

“I guess you do what you have to do to protect yourself,” he said. “Given the times right now, anything can happen.”

The Wick family and company has been an integral part of the Mazomanie community for decades, Holcomb said, but if selling Wick means people can keep their jobs, he said it should be done.

Despite a slow market rebound and companies reporting home sale increases over 2008, Disch said, it is possible there will be more work force reductions.

“It’s not a rush where we’re going to see a whole lot of employment following construction,” he said. “I think a lot of builders will still be trying to hold onto what they have instead of expanding.”

8 comments

  1. Sharon tourtillott

    We have a WICK HOME fab# 99435,can some from Wick send the written notice per Comm 20.14 Comm 20.13 for approval of WICK HOME FAB# 99435,VIA my e-mail confirming we live in Modular home.thank you sharon

  2. I need replacement parts. Where can I purchase them?

  3. I’m in the process of selling my home & need the orginal Bill of Sale and Statement of Origin for the new buyers how can I get this from Wick Homes???? Please help. Thanks,Jodi

  4. I’m very upset with Wick. We bought a wick modular home and as time went on, a crew came out and did repairs because we kipt having problems with our dining room floor boards heaving up in cold weather and our utility room floor is weak, spongy and sinking. The last crew that came and adhusted the beams under the house to get rid of the squeeking when we walked across the floor and to get the humps out of the dining room floor. The men informed us that this house was parked on the lot and was sitting uneven and it got twisted so badly that the lanoleum even cracked all to pieces in the cold winter so it was replaced before we bought the home We were already living in the home for over a year when we learned of this and when we bought this home we weren’t informed that Wick was planning to file bankruptcy either or we would never have bought a Wick home, we would have purchasd a Schultz. I plan to contact a lawyer because every winter since we bought this house our floors are still heaving up in the dining area and continue to sink lower all the time in the utility room.

  5. Does anyone no where we can get blue prints for a 1995 model. We want to put in new windows and 36 inch doors. If anyone has any info please call 262 939 6112 or email [email protected]

  6. R all wick homes a modular home or manufacturer home?????????

  7. WE ARE HOPING YOU CAN HELP US.WE PURCHASED A PROPERTY IN 2003 AND THE HOME ON IT IS A WICK HOME. WE ARE TRYING TO REFINANCE AN THE LENDER WANTS A VIN # FOR THE HOUSE.WE HAVE LOOKED EVERYWHERE PEOPLE HAVE SUGESTED AND CANT FIND ONE,THE HOME HAS BEEN COMPLETLY REMODLED INSIDE AND OUT,ALL CABINETS HAVE BEEN REPLACED AND THE WALLS SHEET ROCKED AND PAINTED.THE OUT SIDE HAS BEEN RESIDED AND PAINTED OVER THE YEAES. HAS EVEN HAD A PORCH PUT ON THE KITCHEN SIDE OF THE HOUSE,A DECK BUILT ON THE FRONT SIDE OF THE HOUSE AND AN 18 X 20 FT ADDITION WITH A BASEMENT UNDER IT ON THE FRONT SIDE OF THE HOUSE.IS THERE ANY WAY YOU CAN HELP US? I HaVE GONE TO THE COURT HOUE AND NOBODY THERE COULD HELP US EITHER. WE EVEN FOUND THE ORIGINAL OWNER OF THE HOUSE AND HE COULDNT HELP US EITHER.WHEN WE PURCHASED THE PROPERTY WE WEREN’T GVEN A VIN # ON OUR PAPERWORK.IS THERE ANYTING YOU CAN DO FOR US?

  8. Christopher Johnson

    We love our 2002 Wick modular-manufactured home. Sorry to hear about the business climate set back that led to Ch11.
    We are looking to upgrade the roof system ( reroofing with metal and adding solar panels( and need a source for the engineering plans for the typical 2×2 truss system.

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