After post-tornado move, Townhouse plant discontinues operations

MANTACHIE — Townhouse Furniture, who moved some work to Mantachie after a 2011 tornado in Smithville, has apparently shut down its operation and local officials fear they’ve lost a $50,000 investment.

Townhouse, a stationary furniture manufacturer, received local and state help with the move from Smithville to Mantachie.

At the time, Townhouse CFO Tony Watson said the company plans to rebuild in Smithville and continue operations in Mantachie.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports Mayor Jeff Butler says Townhouse ceased its Mantachie operations about two weeks ago.

Butler says company representatives claim the closure is “temporary” and the company plans to reopen its Mantachie plant within eight weeks.

The business, which at its peak, employed 150 workers, was located in the former PeopLounger’s building.

Butler said company officials claimed work at the plant had slowed to a crawl. Many of its employees live in Smithville, he said, and the plant was losing workers to the long commute.

Officials said the plant stands empty and in poor shape, according to town leaders. Overgrown and trash-littered, the grounds are in desperate need of some maintenance.

The city has asked that the grounds be cleaned within the next 30 days.

Mantachie pledged $50,000 to help Townhouse Furniture rebound. Butler said the money was pulled from the town’s reserves.

If the plant were operational, the workers would be spending money in the town’s stores — eating lunch at its restaurants and filling cars with its gas — generating the sales tax revenue on which the town operates.

“We were counting on that sales tax revenue from their employees,” Butler said. “That was a heck of an investment for the town of Mantachie. To a town our size, that was a huge chunk of money.”

When the company first relocated to Mantachie, representatives claimed they would reopen a Smithville division within the near future, but also keep both the Amory and Mantachie locations operational.

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