Furniture plant announces closure in Harrison, Ark.; 109 losing jobs
A longtime furniture plant in Harrison, Ark. announced Wednesday it is closing.
It's a big hit to the Harrison community.
"It hurt. It hurt. But what can you do?" said Amanda Foster, who works at Flexsteel.
The furniture manufacturing plant Flexsteel will close its doors on August 20.
"Fifteen minutes before the end of the shift, they let us know we'd be closing down in about 60 days," said Donald Foy, who works at Flexsteel.
Including Foy and Foster, 109 people will be out of a job.
"I got a family, man," Foster said. "I got a husband, two kids. It's a good-paying job and now it's gone. We've got good benefits. Good benefits, and that's gone."
This comes less than a month after Flexsteel closed its Riverside, California, plant.
The mayor of the city and the president of the chamber of commerce said they didn't get much of a warning.
"We were shocked. We were surprised. Maybe we shouldn't have been but we were," said Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson.
"It's always devastating for a community when it affects this many of our community members. Harrison is a manufacturing, industrial town. We have 14 prime employers, so any effect to them creates a ripple effect," said Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce President Bob Largent.
But the employees who will soon be out of a job said the company isn't just hanging them out to dry. Foster and Foy said the company is giving them a month's worth of severance pay.
Foy clarified that the severance pay depends on the employee's years of service, with a maximum of four weeks and a minimum of 26 weeks.
"To make the transition easy they're going to have a job fair for us," Foy said. "So I think they're doing everything they can to make it easy they're not just kicking us out and saying go find a job."
And the chamber of commerce plans to help. The president said multiple organizations and even the governor is now involved.
"As bad as this is for the community, and talking with the mayor and others today, we believe we are going to be able to offer employment to the majority if not all of the affected workers right here in Harrison," Largent said.
"It's definitely going to have an impact on the community, but luckily there's other places here that said we're more than welcome to come and apply with them," Foy said.
The employees are not represented by a union.
The plant is located off of U.S. 65. Flexsteel began making furniture in 1929. The products the company produces include a wide variety of upholstered and wood furniture such as sofas, loveseats, chairs, reclining and rocker-reclining chairs, swivel rockers, sofa beds, convertible bedding units, occasional tables, desks, dining tables and chairs and bedroom furniture.
Flexsteel presented a restructuring plan Tuesday.
The president of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce said he plans to have a meeting with organizations Friday at 1 p.m. to try to help people who were affected by the closing.
The company did not give a reason as to why they are closing.