The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal is reporting this morning that a little more than a year after emerging from bankruptcy protection with a new owner, motion upholstery maker PeopLoungers is closing for good.
Sources say the furniture maker, which was founded 30 years ago in Tupelo, is expected to close its Mantachie production plant on Wednesday.
But as of Monday, Itawamba County Development Council Executive Director Greg Deakle hadn’t heard anything. And the Mississippi Department of Employment Security said it had not yet received any notice of a closure.
According to Deakle, the Mantachie plant – which had merged operations with the company’s Nettleton facility – employs 100 to 150 workers.
At its peak in 2004, PeopLoungers employed about 800 people and generated about $90 million in sales.
When it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2007, the company owed more than $5.7 million to its 20 largest unsecured creditors.
Former President Jimmy Green said at the time of its bankruptcy filing, the company had 450 employees but was still generating about $50 million in sales.
Capital Business Credit in New York bought the company’s assets for $6.5 million in November 2007. The Finley Group of Charlotte, N.C., a turnaround business, took over day-to-day operations of PeopLoungers in May 2008.
PeopLoungers closed its 430,000-square-foot Nettleton plant, consolidating operations into its 175,000-square-foot Mantachie facility.
Administrative offices were moved into its showroom at the Tupelo Furniture Market.
There, TFM President Bill Cleveland confirmed on Monday that a company representative said that PeopLoungers was shuttering its Mantachie plant on Wednesday, while a “skeleton crew” would remain at the TFM location to wind down operations.
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