SMITHVILLE, Mississippi – This tiny Northeast Mississippi community that knows tragedy and misfortune first hand had something to celebrate Friday with the announcement of 80 new jobs over three with the arrival of start-up furniture company Behold Home Inc.
The good news comes just as Smithville heads toward the third anniversary of a E5 tornado that demolished most of the town’s businesses, many of its homes and killed 16 residents. The town is slowly rebuilding and has opened a new K-12 school, gym, new church buildings and businesses since the April 27, 2011 tornado. Town leaders have also adopted a comprehensive land-use plan to help guide the growth Monroe County community hopes to achieve.
Smithville lost a furniture maker last year with the closing of TownHouse Furniture. That plant will be the new home of Behold Home Inc., a Tupelo-based motion furniture manufacturing company started by veteran Northeast Mississippi furniture manufacturers Lyle Harris and Larry Todd. Harris is president and CEO; Todd is VP and COO. Bo Russell, a Tupelo accountant and attorney, is treasurer and CFO.
Harris is the former president of American Furniture. Todd is a a co-founder of Southern Motion.
Behold Home bought two former TownHouse buildings, a 76,000-square foot main plant plus a 60,000-square-foot warehouse. It also has options on land in Smithville for future expansion.
Behold Home isn’t manufacturing yet, but it has made some prototypes to show potential customers, business editor Dennis Seid of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported Friday.
Behold will employ about 40 people as it plans to begin operations in June. It expects to grow to 80 employees or more within three years.
Harris said Smithville “felt like home” and said choosing the city and the facility “was an easy decision,” the NE Daily Journal reported.
Behold will initially manufacture motion furniture (reclining chairs, sofas and sectionals) but plans to expand into stationary furniture later, Todd said.
The company aims to find a niche in the mid-priced category, and Harris is headed to High Point, N.C., to network at its furniture market this week.