By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
VERONA – Ashley Furniture Industries, already employing about 3,000 workers at two manufacturing plants in Northeast Mississippi, will add more with a third plant.
The Arcadia, Wisc.-based company recently acquired the former Morgan Fabrics plant in Verona. The 275,000-square-foot plant will be used to produce mattresses and sofa sleepers. It also will serve as a customer support center and will stock replacement parts.
Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the company received assistance from the Mississippi Development Authority and the Tupelo-based Community Development Foundation.
Furniture Today first reported the deal last week.
Ashley’s mattress and sofa operations in Verona will occupy about 150,000 square feet for manufacturing, with about 60 jobs during the first phase of development. Production will begin this summer, the company said.
The call center and replacement parts operations will open by the end of the year.
“Ashley Furniture Industries has been a valued business in Mississippi for nearly two decades and has created thousands of jobs for our workers and contributed significantly to our state’s economy,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “I am grateful to Ashley officials for once again expanding their Mississippi operations.”
The Verona facility, once a distribution center for Morgan Fabrics, sits on 35 acres at the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South and can be expanded if needed.
Ashley President and CEO Todd Wanek said the plant’s location was ideal since it “is close in proximity to Ashley’s existing facilities in Ripley and Ecru, serviced by a rail line, and located in a foreign trade zone.”
Privately held Ashley is the largest furniture manufacturer, supplier and retailer in North America, with more than $3 billion in annual sales. It has been in Mississippi since 1994.
“This decision was the result of several years of global strategic and grass-roots analysis,” Wanek said. “Mississippi is a business-friendly state that we are happy to call home.”
Ashley has seven manufacturing plants in the U.S., employing about 18,000 people.
It’s facility in Ecru is the largest upholstered furniture manufacturing in the world.