ADVANCE, NC - Ashley Furniture will open a large-scale furniture factory near Advance, NC, in Davie County. An initial $825,000 grant from the State of North Carolina helped spur the deal, which could lead to a total $80 million investment and a plant totalling 3.3 million square feet.

“As we see Ashley’s global demand for its products increase, Ashley continues to make long-term investments in all of its facilities as well as the continued education of all employees to meet consumer demand," said Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture president and CEO, in a statement announcing the initiative.

Under the terms of a separate Job Development Investment Grant, Ashley Furniture will receive a grant equal to 60 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the 10 years in which the company meets annual performance targets. 

If the 12,000-employee furnishings manufacturer sustains them for 10 years, it could yield as much as $3.19 million in maximum benefits for Ashley Furniture, according to calculations by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue's office.

The project includes the conversion of a vacant building on a former R.J. Reynolds property into a warehouse, and later expansion for a total 550-employee manufacturing facility over the course of five years. Total investment in land, buildings, machinery and equipment could be $80 million.

Speculation about the Ashley Furniture project has been fed over the last year by several news reports: a $3.5 million 360-acre land parcel was donated to the Davie County Economic Development Corp. by R.J. Reynolds last year. "Operation Top Drawer," for a then unspecified furniture manufacturer, was funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation last year, which secured a $2.5 million grant to support the project. The State of North Carolina passed a tax credit of $168,000 in June 2011 for an unnamed 550-employee manufacturing plant.

Established in 1999, the Golden LEAF Foundation was created to manage part of North Carolina’s share of funds from a settlement with tobacco companies, helping economically distressed  rural communities in North Carolina  transition to stable business segments. Stanley Furniture received a $1 million grant from the Golden Leaf foundation to retool its Robbinsville, NC plant. 

Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.,  says it is the largest furniture manufacturer in the United States. Its Ashley Furniture HomeStores claims to be it is  the number one furniture retailer in the United States, through over 425 independently ownedlocations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Japan.