Jobs lost and gained by same furniture employer

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 05:32 PM

The company that owns and operates the Pearson home furnishings line completed the closing of its High Point plant Friday, three days after announcing plans for its new corporate headquarters in the city.

Local Pearson employees were told in March that the longtime factory would close this summer, eliminating paychecks for 86 workers. When Heritage Home Group filed paperwork four months ago about the shutdown, Pearson was supposed to phase out operations by the end of next month. 
The earlier closing still meets the requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the federal law that requires at least 60 days notice for a plant closing.
The manager of the High Point state job service agency office, Ikel Williams, confirmed that Pearson’s last day of operation at its city plant was this past Friday.
Williams said that his office is having success finding new jobs and leads for Pearson workers. The city office of the N.C. Division of Employment Security hosted job fairs for Pearson workers with employers interested in their skills, Williams said.
“Some of them have gone back to work already, though I don’t know the final number yet,” he said. “There are still employers contacting us now.”
A representative with Heritage Home Group couldn’t be reached for comment Monday by The High Point Enterprise about the Pearson closing.
Heritage Home Group now has cut 170 jobs at area factories since it took over ownership after the bankruptcy of Furniture Brands International. Late last year, Heritage Home Group acquired Furniture Brand International’s assets for $280 million.
In addition to Pearson, Heritage Home Group closed Thomasville Plant C and Thomasville Plant C-Area 100 in Davidson County, eliminating 84 jobs.
The cutback of factory jobs contrasts with Heritage Home Group’s announcement last Tuesday. Company officials ended months of speculation when they said they would relocate the corporate headquarters from St. Louis to High Point.
In a news release, Heritage Home Group says the company “is planning to add an estimated 300 jobs to the local economy” through its headquarters at 1925 Eastchester Drive.
“We are pleased to officially name High Point as the home of our corporate headquarters ... We look forward to being part of the High Point community,” said Ira Glazer, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Home Group.
No city, county or state financial incentives were part of the Heritage Home Group headquarters project.
In addition to its new corporate headquarters, Heritage Home Group maintains major High Point Market trade showrooms at the International Home Furnishings Center. | 888-3528

End of line for local plant
The Pearson furniture plant’s last day of operation was Friday. The factory, on Progress Avenue in south High Point, dates from a local family starting the business 72 years ago. Clyde Pearson founded the company, which was run along with members of his family. The Pearson company merged with Lane Home Furnishings in the late 1970s, and Lane later became part of Furniture Brands International. When Furniture Brands International filed for bankruptcy last year, its assets were acquired by Heritage Home Group.