PONTOTOC – For the past decade, the Deville Furniture building sat mostly empty, with some of its 220,000 square feet used occasionally as a warehouse.
But the nearly 40-year-old facility is coming back to life thanks to a furniture company that’s only a year old.
On Monday, officials with Delta Furniture Manufacturing announced they were moving into the building and adding employees.
Delta Furniture co-founder and president Wesley Walls said the company is investing about $1 million to repair the facility. Within three years, it plans to add at least 50 employees.
“We’re excited about it,” said the former University of Mississippi All-America tight end and NFL Pro Bowl selection. “We’d like to be in it next week, but we’re looking at probably the first of the year. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Delta now operates out of three leased buildings covering about 100,000 square feet. For co-founder and president of manufacturing Terry Wages, the situation has been a logistical nightmare, but one that will disappear soon enough.
“We’re up to 80 employees right now and we’ve got four lines running,” he said. “We’ve just outgrown our space. When we move, we’d like to have five or six lines going.”
In addition to the investment by the company, the Mississippi Development Authority is providing funding to help with building improvements. The city of Pontotoc also will help to pay for public infrastructure improvements.
Delta’s expansion was discussed initially in January, officials said.
“It’s been a long process,” Walls said. “We appreciate all the work that Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the city and MDA put in to make it possible.”
Delta was little more than an idea about a year ago, when Walls and Wages started talking about forming their own furniture manufacturing company.
“I always wanted to come back here and look for an opportunity to get in some kind of business,” said Walls. “Terry and I are cousins, and with Chris Bray, our president of sales, we got together to form this company right in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. But we decided we wanted to do it here in Pontotoc.
“We want to put people back to work.”
The company started with 26 employees, serving just a handful of customers. Today, Delta has more than 100 customers.
With the move to a bigger building and having room to grow, Delta has fared well in a competitive segment of the furniture industry, in a still-tough economic environment.
“We’re very competitive,” Walls said. Delta makes promotional stationary upholstered furniture. “We’ve got a good product at a great value.”
Added Wages, “We’ve got a great team. Without our employees we couldn’t have done it.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal