Morigeau Lepine is--whoops, make that was. Morigeau Lepine was an old-line baby furniture manufacturer in Quebec, which had been in business for over sixty years. The family-owned company suddenly closed its factory doors last Friday and laid off its 40 workers.
At its peak, Morigeau-Lepine's factory in Saint-François-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, a bend in the road upriver from Quebec City, employed over 200 people making high-end cribs and whatnot, largely in traditional styles, and all from North American wood [they're in Canada, after all.]
Caught between changing tastes and price competition from overseas, Morigeau-Lepine dabbled unsuccessfully in modern nursery designs, beginning with a direct knockoff of David Netto's crib, and then with a contemporary crib of its own design that was quickly cloned and sold at JC Penney's at a 80% lower price. Its long-established retail network--made up mostly of local, independent baby boutiques--effectively kept the company off the web. And then it didn't help that over 80% of the company's sales were in the US, a country which is reportedly experiencing a bit of economic turmoil of late.
And considering the economic news these days, maybe it's not surprising that the closure of a 40-person factory doesn't get much attention. Still, I would have thought the Baby Industrial Complex's leading trade publication, Kids Today, would have the news by now. [After all, they did mention that Canadian giant Dorel's sales increased last quarter..
But so far, the only report I can find is a short story from Radio Canada. I guess if you're going to deliver news of a rural town's only factory closing down, you should do it in the twangiest, most hilarious-sounding Quebecois accent you can muster. Gotta keep the spirits up.
[note:In the news clip, it's pronounced Mori-ZHO, not Mori-GO. Somehow it doesn't feel right to complain about what this does to my headline.]
Morigeau-Lepine fermeture: 40 employés mis à pied [radio-canada.ca via dt reader md]
Looks like they didn't turn off the website yet: Morigeau.com [morigeau.com]