November 26, 2013 9:19:33 AM
JACKSON -- A Tennessee furniture maker is opening two plants in northeast Mississippi, hiring 250.
Jackson Furniture, based in Cleveland, Tenn., announced Monday that it will add a plant in Myrtle to one it opened in Mantachie in September, investing $2 million overall.
The company makes sofas, recliners, chairs, tables and rugs under the Catnapper and Jackson brands. It's also rolling out a line of Duck Dynasty-branded furniture in camouflage patterns and outdoor prints.
"Jackson Furniture is excited about expanding production in northeast Mississippi, the ideal location for us based on an excellent labor pool of experienced living room furniture makers," Ron Jackson, CEO of Jackson Furniture Industries, said in a statement.
The Mississippi Development Authority is giving the company $750,000 for renovation and relocation costs, as well as worker training valued at $1.016 million. The Appalachian Regional Commission is giving $300,000 for infrastructure improvements.
Average worker salary is projected to be $25,000.
The company is buying the 186,000-square-foot building former Townhouse Home Furnishings building in Mantachie and the 160,000-square foot former Barclay Furniture Co. building in Myrtle.
The region around Tupelo is the center of a large upholstered furniture industry. Mississippi State University estimated in 2011 that 31 percent of all upholstered furniture sold in the United States was made in northeast Mississippi.
But employment has tumbled because of the housing recession and international competition. After peaking in 2000 at more than 31,000 workers statewide, the number of workers fell more than 40 percent through 2011, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Employment ticked up slightly in 2012, but has resumed a downward trend in 2013, despite five furniture makers announcing new plants or expansions in the region.
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