Local company focuses on green cabinets
By Heather Linda Young
Local business owner Cassandra Nordell-MacLean was surprised when she found out how much formaldehyde is allowed to be in residential products like cabinets – as much at 70 parts per million, she says.
"Studies link it to depression, anxiety, general allergies and headaches," she says.
It's also a known carcinogen in rodents.
That's why the company she founded with her husband Patrick MacLean in 2010, William Standen Co. Exquisite Design & Fine Cabinetry, has a focus in eco-friendly cabinetry.
"The biggest thing for me is the connection to health," she says in the company's MacGregor Sdrd. South showroom, which opened in April.
"Our ultimate goal is to provide healthy products that don't contribute to illness."
By using soy-based glues, they've managed to get their formaldehyde emissions down to about 0.5 parts per million – low enough to be certified green by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer's Association.
Quotes for cabinets from William Standen Co. have ranged from $6,000 to over $100,000 depending on the size and the space, says Nordell-MacLean.
"Cabinetries are the biggest contenders for releasing formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals into indoor air," she says, but tables, dressers and other household wooden furniture can also release harmful materials.
"We make all that, too."
William Standen Co., named after the pair's father and grandfather, offers a team for renovations and installations, but they allow clients to work with their preferred contractors.
Nordell-MacLean says their business, which was founded from a previous venture in design and renovations, has grown every year.
"We've been received well by everyone in the community," says MacLean.
"I think that's the best part – people actually appreciate what you're doing."
The couple's devotion to green products isn't just on the surface, they say.
At the manufacturing facility in St. Catharines, all the wood chips and solvents are recycled, says MacLean.
"We're not dumping into storm drains like some other companies.
They also think it's important to support Canadian companies, he adds.
"There isn't a company in town that really focuses on Canadian-made residential products."
As a title sponsor for Sarnia's first-ever Green Show on Sept. 17 and 18 at the Lambton Inn, the duo is bringing their expertise to local residents.
"The idea behind it is for local community members to learn how to live a sustainable life and to see what products they can get here in town."