NC furniture company, hailed in 2011 by Obama as a job creator, closing doors (UPDATED)
Another one bites the dust:
Lincolnton Furniture Company closed abruptly Thursday just one year after it was hailed by President Barack Obama as an example of the recovering U.S. economy.
Furniture-making operations stopped indefinitely and only a few people will remain employed moving forward, company financial officer Ben Causey said.
“I don’t know where it’s going to go exactly; we’re still evaluating our situation,” Causey said. “We just didn’t have any choice at this point.”
The company was not receiving the orders it needed to sustain its operations, Causey said.
Owner Bruce Cochrane, a fifth generation furniture-manufacturer, formed the company in 2011 with a $5 million investment and the hope he could make a profit off people who wanted to buy furniture made in America.
It was a move that caught the attention of North Carolina officials and those in the White House. Last year, Cochrane sat with the first lady during Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address. He also joined the president and other business leaders in a discussion about how to create more jobs at home.
I wish the Cochranes well in their future endeavors. Furniture making is a longtime industry here in NC, and I love visiting the various “furniture rows”, admiring the beautiful craftsmanship, and smelling the wood. Hopefully the Cochranes will give it another go in the future – if they’re smart, they’ll wait until our clueless wonder in the WH has finished his last term. By then, hopefully we’ll have a more business-friendly President whose knowledge about how to get an an economy growing is based on something other than the op/ed pages of the NY Times.
Update – 4:05 PM: Here are excerpts from Obama’s speech at the WH last January commending Lincolnton Furniture and other small businesses:
I don’t want the next generation of manufacturing jobs taking root in countries like China or Germany. I want them taking root in places like Michigan and Ohio and Virginia and North Carolina. And that’s a race that America can win. That’s the race businesses like these will help us win.
“But you don’t have be a big manufacturer to insource jobs. Bruce Cochrane’s family had manufactured furniture in North Carolina for five generations. But in 1966 — 1996, rather, as jobs began shifting to Asia, the family sold their business and Bruce spent time in China and Vietnam as a consultant for American furniture makers who had shifted their production. While he was there, though, he noticed something he didn’t expect: Their customers actually wanted to buy things made in America. So he came home and started a new company, Lincolnton Furniture, which operates out of the old family factories that had been shut down. He’s even re-hired many of the former workers from his family business.