PONTOTOC – Although the furniture industry in Northeast Mississippi laid off about 1,000 workers last year, companies have picked up their hiring in recent months.
The latest news came late Friday, when the Mississippi Development Authority announced that Southern Motion, a Pontotoc-based reclining furniture manufacturer, will add at least 200 jobs over the next two years.
It’s Southern Motion’s second job addition this year and at least the third within two years. In January, the company added 70 jobs, on top of the 65 it created in 2009.
The company is investing $7 million to build a 180,000-square-foot facility to accommodate increased production. The new building will be adjacent to its 400,000-square-foot facility, where it employs 701 employees.
And there’s even better news – the company could hire 400 workers in the next five years.
“Southern Motion is an integral member of Mississippi’s furniture manufacturing industry, and this new expansion by the company demonstrates its ongoing commitment to the state,” Gov. Haley Barbour said in a statement. “I commend the company for creating so many new jobs for Mississippi’s residents, particularly during a time when job creation is critical to the economy.”
The state’s furniture industry, most of which is based in Northeast Mississippi, has been shedding jobs as a result of overseas competition and the economic downturn. But since October, at least six other furniture companies have announced hirings and expansions.
The MDA provided help to Southern Motion with the Development Infrastructure Program and the Rural Impact Fund Program to help with infrastructure improvements.
Southern Motion was founded in 1996 by Guy Lipscomb and Larry Todd. The company makes recliners, sofas, love seats, sectionals and home theater furniture.
“The Mississippi Development Authority and Pontotoc County Board of Supervisors helped make this expansion a reality,” said Lipscomb, now the company’s chairman and CEO. “We appreciate the time and effort that our public officials have devoted to this project.”
Added Roger Bland, Southern Motion’s president, “We are excited about our new expansion, which is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of the entire Southern Motion family.”
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal