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Larry Thomas

Ashley buys Mississippi facility to support upholstery operations

RIPLEY, Miss. — Ashley Furniture Inds. said this week it is acquiring a 260,000-square-foot building here that will supplement its three existing upholstery factories in Mississippi.

Todd Wanek, Ashley's president and CEO, said the new facility will be a support center for factories in Verona, Ripley and Ecru.

"As we expand the capabilities of our existing Mississippi facilities, we will be moving some functions this offsite location," Wanek said. "This acquisition will assist us in expediting our supply chain vertical integration plans."

He said the newest Ripley facility is part of the company's $116 million reinvestment plan this year to improve its manufacturing capacity and efficiency.

The company has added 749 employees in the past six weeks at several of its factories, and it says additional employment opportunities are still available.

Ashley broke ground in the spring of 2012 on a new factory in Advance, N.C., but construction delays due largely to rainy weather and the discovery of wetlands on the site - formerly used by R.J. Reynolds - have pushed back the completion date until mid-2014.

The company currently is using a portion of an existing building on the site for upholstery manufacturing.


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