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.