By Dennis Seid
PLANTERSVILLE – Charles “Casey” Jones, who earned his nickname after working for the Frisco Railroad, named his company after the Roman god of sleep.
It made perfect sense.
Somnus is the Roman god of sleep, and Jones’ Somnus Mattress Corp. is in the business to put its customers to sleep – in a good way.
Somnus Mattress is more widely known as Posturecraft Mattress Co., and it has grown into a $20 million business with 600 retail accounts nationwide.
But in April, the Double Springs, Ala.-based company suffered a devastating fire. Jones had to move quickly. He could have rebuilt the plant, but finding an existing location would allow him to reopen faster. He found an ideal location in Plantersville.
And by this time next year, Posturecraft will be in full production, with 100 people at work. It should be producing about 1,000 mattresses a day.
But it’s the next month or so that’s critically important.
“We’ve got some state-of-the-art equipment coming in the next two weeks, and we should be up to 30-40 percent production by mid-October,” Jones said.
The company announced Tuesday it was relocating from Double Springs to a 16-acre site in Plantersville. Some employees will transfer from the Alabama site, about 90 miles away.
Gov. Phil Bryant, representatives of the Community Development Foundation and local officials celebrated the announcement at the 80,000-square-foot building Posturecraft will initially fill.
The Mississippi Development Authority is providing $100,000 for facility improvements, plus a $50,000 workforce-training grant.
Jones is investing about $3 million.
Another two buildings on the site add another 90,000 square feet, which means the company will be able to expand and add more workers.
State Rep. Steve Holland said Monday that the company would employ 125-150 employees eventually.
Jones on Tuesday said his first priority was to get operations running again.
“But we have big plans for this place,” he said.
Jones said the weekly payroll will be $60,000 to $80,000 once the company is fully operational.
Posturecraft offers a full line of bedding – mattresses, toppers, air beds, adjustable beds, even water beds. The company uses polyfoam as well as the popular memory foam.
Jones looks to tap further into the growing bedding segment of the furniture industry, which grabbed $6.8 billion in sales last year.
“One in five people who walk into a furniture store get a mattress,” Jones said.
Posturecraft is the second bedding company to announce big plans in Lee County in recent months.
In May, Advanced Innovations broke ground on a 108,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center adjacent to its manufacturing plant in Baldwyn. With 500 employees at the facility, the company plans to add 50 employees in the next two years.
CDF President and CEO David Rumbarger said the area’s deep roots in furniture manufacturing give companies like Posturecraft a head start in hiring and training its workers.
Plantersville Mayor Gloria Holland said the company’s arrival was a game-changer for her community.
“This means so much for people,” she said. “Having a wonderful company like them sends a message of what we’re capable of doing.”