HENRY CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Bassett Furniture will expand its operations in the Martinsville-Henry County area.
The company announced the plans Wednesday. They include new equipment and adding 22 positions in the area.
Here is the complete announcement from Bassett and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation:
Retail store growth is prompting Bassett Furniture to invest $1.5 million in equipment and add 22 employees at its Henry County operations.
Company officials announced the expansion today at the Bassett Design Center.
There are 91 Bassett Home Furnishings stores nationwide, including new stores opened recently in Westbury, N.Y., in the Long Island area, and Culver City, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles, according to Jeb Bassett, senior vice president — Wood Division. Another store recently moved to a new location in Scottsdale, Ariz., he said.
When stores are opened this year in King of Prussia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Chandler, Ariz., there will be 95 Bassett Home Furnishings stores, he added.
To support this growth, Bassett Furniture is:
· Installing a state-of-the-art finishing system at its Martinsville Table Plant, also called Plant 11, at the Patriot Centre at Beaver Creek industrial park. Bassett said the system is “fairly unique to the home furnishings industry” and includes a clean room environment with down-draft spray booths, infrared ovens and short cycle times, he added. Also at Plant 11, Bassett is adding numerical control machining centers and a state-of-the-art packaging process, Bassett said.
· Expanding the finishing operation and controlled environment for the Bench*Made lines produced in Bassett. Bench*Made furniture is solid red leaf maple, which is produced in a controlled environment: temperature and humidity, ideal for maintaining uniform moisture content of the wood, Bassett said.
· Making upgrades and adding associates at the company’s corporate offices in Bassett — across the street from where the company was founded in 1902 — to support the retail store growth, Bassett said.
The 22 new positions will be added over the next few years in all three locations, according to Bassett. Manufacturing employees will need skills in machining, finishing and upholstery; office associates will need skills in information technology (IT), website development and other areas to support retail operations, Bassett added.
Bassett Furniture is receiving a $95,000 TROF (Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission) grant and $53,502 in Henry County Enterprise Zone grants over five years.
"Bassett Furniture has always been a firm cornerstone of Southside Virginia in every way, for so many years. Since the day it was founded, Bassett Furniture has never wavered in its commitment to the people in our region, and remains to this day as the premiere name in furniture manufacturing. The Tobacco Commission is proud to support this great company as it expands its operations in Henry County," said Tobacco Commission member, Senator Bill Stanley.
The company worked with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and with Henry County on the expansion.
“I have been impressed with the local EDC and thank them and the Board of Supervisors in Henry County and the Tobacco Commission for recognizing and supporting long-time local industries in addition to the work they do in supporting and attracting new industries,” Bassett said.
Bassett Furniture took its expansion plans to the EDC about five months ago. The EDC helped it determine what assistance was available “and then coached us through the application process,” Bassett said.
“With today’s announcement, Bassett Furniture continues its remarkable turnaround in a globally competitive market. For more than 100 years, Bassett has been a market leader, and we are thankful for its continued investment and growth in Martinsville-Henry County,” said Mark Heath, president/CEO of the EDC.
Bassett’s Plant 11 in the Patriot Centre produces custom casual dining furniture in 30 finishes and more than 800 fabrics and leathers for seating. It recently expanded its upholstery operations in that facility, boosting its capacity by about 20 percent, Bassett said. The plant employs 140 associates.
“It seems U.S. consumers in fairly all aspects of their lives are becoming more and more casual,” resulting in the growing popularity of the casual dining market, he said.
The Bench*Made operation marked its second anniversary in January “and has far exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Bassett said.
The first Bench*Made introductions were for dining, including tables, chairs and serving pieces. The line recently expanded into other categories, including occasional tables, entertainment and bedroom, Bassett said.
“It is all custom made, one at a time, all sold orders,” he said.
Bench*Made pieces are available in 15 finishes and multiple hardware options, as well as more than 800 fabrics and leathers. All pieces are made by 40 employees in the lower level of the building formerly known as Central Warehouse No. 2.
“Bassett Furniture is one of the leading corporate citizens in Henry County and we are excited about this expansion,” said Jim Adams, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Today’s announcement reinforces the idea that advanced manufacturing can flourish here, and we look forward to Bassett’s continued success.”