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Cherokee tribal entity buys Cardinal Homes / March 09, 2020

Cardinal Homes, a Wylliesburg-based builder of modular housing units, announced Wednesday that it has been purchased by an economic development corporation wholly owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, N.C.

The sale was part of a restructuring after privately-owned Cardinal Homes filed for bankruptcy protection in December in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Cardinal Homes is a good fit” for the tribe’s economic development company, Kituwah LLC, said Mark Hubble, its CEO.

Bret Berneche, longtime president of Cardinal Homes, will continue in that role under the new company, which will now operate as Kituwah Manufacturing, LLC dba Cardinal Homes.

Berneche hailed the transaction as setting the stage for renewed hiring by the Charlotte County modular homes manufacturer.

“All active employees of Cardinal Homes were offered positions with the new company and those who were laid off in December have been recalled,” said Berneche. The company workforce currently stands at 65 employers, but they are “now hiring,” according to the press release issued on Wednesday.

“The leadership team at Cardinal Homes is delighted to be part of Kituwah, serving the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The focus now shifts to methodical growth as we restore teams in all areas of the company,” Berneche said.

Hubble said, “Providing housing to tribal members is only part of our plan to grow Cardinal Homes. Other markets include the hotel and apartment sectors. We feel that with our financial backing and the strong leadership team at Cardinal, we can take Cardinal Homes to a new level.”

Kituwah LLC is an economic development entity formed in early 2019. Its mission is to implement and identify revenue sources for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by creating or acquiring profitable and sustainable businesses, and making investments that provide substantial opportunities for tribal members.

Their revenue sources include property development, entertainment and hospitality sectors, and professional services. Revenues generated through Kituwah LLC are returned to the Tribe to assist in the long-term financial well-being of its members.

In addition to Cardinal Homes, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians owns and operates Harrah’s Casino in North Carolina, with plans to build a 350-acre casino resort outside the City of Bristol in western Virginia.

Neither Berneche nor officials with Kituwah said how much the new owners paid for Cardinal Homes. At the time it filed for bankruptcy, Cardinal Homes listed assets of less than $10 million. Berneche, did not say if the new owners plan to change the current line of buildings produced at the Wylliesburg plant.

Today, Cardinal Homes builds ranch, colonial, cape cod, and contemporary style modular homes designed by custom architects.

Cardinal Homes has been a fixture in Charlotte County since April 1970 when the company was founded by Donald Cappaert. The Berneche family purchased the company from Cappaert in 1992.

Members of the Berneche family continued to operate Cardinal Homes until 2013, when they brought in an outside investor to help in the company’s recovery efforts following the housing market bust that began in 2008.

The move helped the company survive, but ultimately the family felt it hindered the company’s post-recession recovery. In 2016 Bret Berneche and wife Dorothy repurchased the shares of their investor-partner and announced that they would refocus the company on a growth plan developed prior to the economic collapse.

At its peak Cardinal Homes employed over 260 people and delivered modules to nearly 500 projects each year. Berneche said, “We look forward achieving Kituwah’s vision, as we return to [the status of being the] preferred vendor for many contractors, and as an employer of choice in our local area.”

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So, in the takeover you allow and support them to suspend, demoralize, and reduce pay for single women checking on their family during Covid? That's what happened. Matter of fact having to do work who the "Boss" is placing over her. Good job Cardinal. Expose the truth!

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