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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Taylorsville furniture maker Gold + Williams closing abruptly

Mitchell Gold Co., which does business as Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, notified workers on Saturday that it was going out of business, with immediate terminations and the final days of employment in late October.

The Taylorsville Times said signs on company property told workers they shouldn’t report to work Monday to the main plant near Taylorsville, a frame plant near Hiddenite  also in Alexanders County, or to a third facility in Statesville.

The notices also said home-office workers should not log in to their company accounts.

A letter from interim CEO Chris Moye said the company had “recently and unexpectedly learned that we are unable to secure critical financing to business operations.”

The statement was similar to the Aug. 7 notice from management announcing the closing of Asheboro-based Klaussner Furniture. Klaussner executives said their decision came because a “lending source has unexpectedly refused to continue to fund the company’s operations.”

A trade publication, Woodworking Network, reported Fargo, North Dakota-based Solid Comfort is also closing and selling off its facilities and equipment.

Since forming their business in 1989 in Alexander County, Gold and Williams have become furniture industry stars for their stylish designs and innovative labor practices. Gold is also a leading advocate for LGBTQ rights, co-founding the Faith in America nonprofit that educations about the harm of religious bigotry. He has been a longtime leader of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBTQ advocacy group.

The extent of the upcoming job loss in Alexander County was unclear. The N.C. Department of Commerce’s online WARN Act database of layoff notices was last updated on Aug. 21.

Woodworking Network’s sister publications, FDMC Magazine, keeps a top-300 list of North America’s largest wood-products companies, as ranked by sales. Klaussner had been ranked No. 36, with sales of $347 million and, supposedly, 1,700 employees. That company’s WARN Act noticed cited the pending layoff of 844 workers — not quite half as many as FDMC listed for it.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams was ranked No. 61 by FDMC, with $197.2 million in sales and, reportedly, 750 employees.

Klaussner’s closure has triggered an employee lawsuit alleging a failure by the company to give workers the required 60 days’ notice. The company also told workers recently that it would end employee health insurance benefits a week early, Woodworking Network reported.

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