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Jay McIntosh

Ashley Furniture expected to announce North Carolina plant Friday

HIGH POINT — Ashley Furniture Inds. will open a facility in Advance, N.C., this year that eventually is expected to employ several hundred as it increases the company's presence on the East Coast, according to sources and local reports.

Company and government officials are set to announce the move Friday at a press conference here, on the eve of the spring High Point Market.

According to sources, the facility in Advance, a town about 25 miles west of High Point, is a 1.7 million-square-foot former R.J. Reynolds tobacco plant that Ashley is expected to initially use for warehousing and later is likely to be used for production as well. It was not known which products would be made at the plant, however.

According to a report in today's Greensboro, N.C., News & Record, the project has been code named Top Drawer, and has local economic development officials excited.

Furniture/Today sources said the plant is expected to employ about 550 workers in a first phase, although it could take a few years to reach that level.

Ashley officials first said in 2010 that they planned to open another manufacturing and distribution center to serve the East Coast, and were scouting sites in Virginia and the Carolinas.

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