MCCONNELLSVILLE, N.Y. - The future of one of the nation's oldest furniture manufacturers is in limbo. Yet again.
Phil Ison, CEO of Ison Furniture Manufacturing, who acquired the company's assets and equipment in August, told Furniture Today that he failed to acquire the company name and intellectual property.
The company's future has been in limbo since February 1 when its assets were in a foreclosure auction to Big Shoulders Capital, a loan firm based in Northbrook, Illinois. After closing the plant briefly, Harden announced weeks later that it would resume limited production - recalling 82 employees back to work.
But on May 29 Big Shoulders suspended the company's operations - affecting 100 workers. Longtime Harden leader Greg Harden was also terminated as CEO. Harden then remained on the advisory board, focused on building the company's sales.
Ison then acquired much of Harden's equipment and assets from Big Capital in late August. Ison recalled 35 workers and resumed production.
In September, Ison planned to move production to North Carolina and create 200 jobs.
But now that all seems to be over. Ison told Furniture Today that the amount of money it would take to turn the operation around didn't make sense financially.
“We decided it was not a good deal for us,” he said. “We bailed out.”
Big Shoulders, which retained the rest of Harden's equipment, reportedly held an online auction and sold it all last week. Remaining unfinished goods will be sold in a November 17 liquidation sale.
Harden's former CEO Greg Harden hopes to bid on the Harden name and intellectual property, which will be liquidated. He still owns the original 400,000-square-foot McConnellsville plant but possesses no manufacturing equipment.
“You don’t know what the future holds," he told Furniture Today. "I would love to be back in the home furniture business and that may happen at some point.”
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