GALAX, VA - Furniture manufacture Vaughan-Bassett will spend $8 million to buy and outfit the former Webb furniture manufacturing facility, situated next to its existing 630-employee Galax plant. The expansion will increase capacity 50 percent, says Vaughan-Bassett.
"We need this expansion because we are growing quickly and we have reached full capacity in our Galax factory."said Wyatt Bassett, president and CEO of Vaughan-Bassett.
Vaughan-Bassett's investment in its Galax manufacturing operation, which includes realignment of the existing Galax plant to accommodate rough milling and to integrate operations between the two plants, will total $8 million
Webb Furniture closed the plant in 2006. Vaughan-Bassett says it will bring in 50 workers by July, with further hiring based on growth.
Vaughan-Bassett will spend $1.7 million to upgrade the wood rough mill area in its existing Galax plant, to be added during a scheduled summer shut-down. Equipment displaced by the rough milling operation will be relocated to the Webb plant.
Vaughan-Bassett says its sales grew by 19 percent during the fourth quarter.
“Both orders and sales are up over 20 percent for the first six weeks of our 2012 fiscal year as well,” Wyatt Bassett noted.
Vaughan-Bassett credits its growth to a consumer preference for U.S. made goods.
“Our sales first jumped after we were featured as the master bedroom set in the “Made in America” house last February on The ABC World News with Diane Sawyer,” said Doug Bassett, Vaughan-Bassett’s COO. “Furniture dealers are reporting to us that their customers are asking for American-made products."
Galax is continuing to see a significant revival of its furniture industries. Albany Furniture bought the former B.C. Vaughan furniture plant last year, with plans to create 335 new jobs for the area over three years. It shipped the first upholstered furniture from the plant in December 2011. It was supported by $2.5 million investment from local and state incentives for equipment, facility upgrades and job placement; Albany Furniture invested $700,000 in equipment.
Albany Furniture is reroofing, adding new docks, and installing a centralized dust collection system, according to local news reports. When the plant is at capacity it will produce 6,000 pieces of furniture weekly.
The City of Galax has also seen a steady infusion of government funds to revitalize furniture manufacture. Last month Virginia provided $382,200 to redevelop the former Sawyers Furniture manufacturing plant. In March, 2010, Virginia awarded $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to Galax to support the expansion of Vaughan–Bassett existing plant, providing infrastructure improvements to relocate a street to support a 50,000 square foot expansion, with a projected addition of 30 jobs. The funds included installation of high–speed broadband connections for the expansion.
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