City Furniture to double size of Kevin Charles upholstery plant

Move to add 30 jobs and support City's Florida growth plans

NEW ALBANY, Miss. — City Furniture is investing $2.54 million to nearly double the size of its Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery operation here, a move that will support the Top 100 company’s growth in Florida and its success with a custom-option line it offers with a same-day delivery promise.

On top of this, City CEO Keith Koenig said the plant expansion should give City the capacity to offer the line to other non-competing retailers, too.

With the move, the Tamarac, Fla.-based City will expand the roughly 63,000-square-foot plant in New Albany, Miss., by another 60,000 square-feet, Koenig said. It’s also adding 30 jobs to its existing 72-accociate workforce, according to a release.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building improvements, a $75,000 grant to subsidize the improvements, Koenig confirmed.

“To support our expansion into Orlando and across Florida, we need more production capability,” he said, adding that City is going after a big opportunity it sees for what it call a same-day custom order program for large scale upholstery, including sectionals and related pillows, chairs, poufs and other items.

Koenig said many shoppers looking for a new living room will come across an upholstery group they like but then pass on it because perhaps they don’t like the pillows or don’t want to wait on the custom fabric they choose.

The Kevin Charles line, meanwhile, overcomes some of these common objections. Each sectional comes in four base fabrics, giving consumers an edited custom option. And throughout the store, the retailer shows all four options on various pieces instead of leaving it up to the consumer to try to figure it out from small swatches. (The company also shows the fabrics choices on much larger-than-average swatches — about a yard long — that consumers can drape over the backs of frames.)

Shoppers also can select their own pillows as well as matching accent chairs, poufs and cocktail ottomans.

And instead of three- to four-week delivery, City is stocking all options and offering same-day delivery on the full line. A four-piece sectional retails for about $2,000 to $2,500, basically the middle range for the company.

The success of Kevin Charles — named after City founder and Keith Koenig’s brother— over the past 16 or so years and City’s aggressive grown and the emphasis on same-day delivery means it was time to expand, Koenig said.

And while all of Kevin Charles production currently goes to City Furniture, Koenig said the additional capacity should enable the company to open up the line to other retailers looking for a similar story to tell to consumers. But he added this is not the core reason for the expansion.

Construction is underway, and the company expects to have the new expansion completed by October, Koenig said, adding that Mississippi moves a lot quicker than Florida.

In a release from the Mississippi Development Authority, Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery President and Chairman-elect of the Mississippi Manufacturers Assn. Rusty Berryhill credited the manufacturer’s work force for their dedication and craftsmanship, which has increased demand necessitating expansion.

“We also appreciate being located in Mississippi with state and local leaders that value the importance of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs,” he added.

“North Mississippi has a talented pipeline of hard workers ready to help manufacturers, such as Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery, achieve long-term growth in our state,” Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in the release.

Senior Editor Powell Slaughter contributed to this story.

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