Stanley Furniture plant shutting down, 400 to lose jobs in WNC county with state’s highest unemployment

Stanley Furniture announced yesterday it was shutting down its Robbinsville plant, a move that will mean the loss of 400 jobs in a county with the state’s highest unemployment rate.

Robbinsville is the county seat for Graham County, a sparsely populated mountain community on the western edge of North Carolina in the Smoky Mountains.

The shutdown of the Robbinsville plant  and the“Young America” line of high-end furniture for nursery’s and children means the company will cease domestic production of furniture. As of Wednesday, the Young America website includes a prominent display that the furniture was  “Made with Care in Robbinsville, N.C.”

The plant will cease production of the line of baby and children’s furniture by the end of the month.

The company has not yet submitted what’s known as a WARN notice the N.C. Commerce Department, a required filing for companies that expect significant reductions in their workforces. (Click here to see other WARN notices about job losses in the state.)

Graham County has had unemployment rates in the double digits for years, and is considered among the most economically depressed parts of the state.

The  unemployment rate was 14.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in January, with a labor force of only 3.569 people, according to the most recently available unemployment data from the N.C. Commerce Department.

North Carolina overall has seen a dramatic drop in its unemployment rate, which was down to 6.4 percent in February, but that been largely because of a shrinking workforce. The state led the nation in job losses last month.

Stanley Furniture moved its U.S. headquarters to High Point from Virginia in 2012 as part of a deal that included incentives from the state.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that the closure of the Robbinsville plant will leave the company with a U.S.-based workforce of less than 100 people.

From the article:

The plant closing will reduce its domestic workforce by 81 percent, or to just 95 employees. It has kept assembly, finishing and warehousing operations in its former hometown of Stanleytown, Va., and in Martinsville, Va.

The decision also completes Stanley’s conversion from a vaunted U.S. manufacturer for nine decades to joining a crowded field as a global marketer. Stanley has 49 employees overseas.

“After a thorough review of both our own operations and the current marketplace for nursery and youth furniture, management and the board concluded that the Young America business could not achieve an acceptable level of revenue within an adequate time frame to assure sustainable profitability,” Glenn Prillaman, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Interestingly, the company included this “Million American Jobs” video about the effects of moving manufacturing jobs overseas on its “About Robbinsville” section of the Young American furniture line website.

YouTube Preview Image

 

8 Comments

  1. Alex

    April 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    It’s a shame that we have to continue to borrow Asian dollars to fund our out- of-control deficits. If we didn’t have these deficits, we could put on tariffs and controls on imported goods, and preserve these American jobs.

  2. Alan

    April 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Alex,

    Same comments for every single article? You may/may not, have noticed that the federal deficit is shrinking quite substantially. Are you seriously suggesting import tariffs, and ignite a trade war with the rest of the world? Plus, I don’t think we’d be all that successful in that endeavour, especially since we’re a member of the WTO. I thought we tried the isolationist policies many years ago and look how successful that was?

    I don’t know for sure, but suspect Stanley have elected to outsource their manufacturing operations, much like a large portion of all of our domestic manufacturing, all in the name of greed and corporate profits above all else. Any outrage about the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs should be directed at those who outsource those jobs, namely domestic corporations, not the foreign countries that end up producing so much of what we consume.

  3. Alex

    April 2, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Obviously Alan you don’t know much about international trade. The Chinese use every trick in the book to restrict American companies from doing business there while we simply let the goods flow in with no barriers. As for the deficit, it’s simply been reduced from record high levels, and we continue to bleed $50 billion dollars in red ink every month. Let interest rates rise as they ultimately will, and you will see the impact on the budget. Stanley is not outsourcing their operations , but are ceasing to even exist. Read the article again Alan, and you may not be jumping to the same conclusion.

  4. Alan

    April 2, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Alex,

    Unlike you and the other interns, I actually do know a lot about it, I work in it and have done for many years. American (and other) companies actually do a lot of trade in China. Granted, there are instances of protectionism at play (both here and in China, does the name Huawei mean anything to you, being recently blocked from federal contracts?)
    Alex, have you EVER been in China? Have you ever been abroad, anywhere?

    You obviously don’t know much about international trade, do you?

  5. Alex

    April 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I was in the import/export business for over 20 years Alan, and I’ve seen it from one end to the other. I’ve lived in several foreign countries, and was the CFO for several multi-national companies before I retired and started my own business, so I’m not easily impressed with your business knowledge.

  6. Alan

    April 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Wow Alex, that’s one impressive resume, pity that experience doesn’t translate to you making any meaningful contribution here, all bar the usual anti-government, anti-Onama, anti-(insert topic here) comments.

  7. LayintheSmakDown

    April 4, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Alex, maybe you need to take my screen name for a bit. You seem to have laid some serious smack down on Alan/ML the intern!

  8. Eve

    April 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    While it is amusing to see so much meaningless banter about something that doesn’t pertain to the story above, it is very disturbing that none of you have shown a whit of concern for the people in our little town that will suddenly be without their means of making a living. For anyone concerned, Stanley Young America is the ONLY factory that is in our county and it employs around 400 (give or take a few) people. Our unemployment rate is, at any given time now, 14% and higher. With the closing of this factory our unemployment rates will jump drastically to possibly 18 to 20%…maybe even more.
    Yet we keep hearing…all the time…how the economy has rebounded and things are better than ever now. What I want to know is…WHERE!