Williams-Sonoma to open Mississippi furniture factory


The Associated Press



BALDWYN -- A home goods retailer is expanding its furniture manufacturing to Mississippi, with plans to hire 350 people. 


San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma Inc. announced Thursday that it will open a factory making upholstered furniture in Baldwyn, starting production in January. The company is a new entrant in northeast Mississippi's upholstered furniture manufacturing industry, which is a major employer in the region. However, the company already has a 900-worker distribution center in Olive Branch, a Mississippi suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. 


Williams-Sonoma isn't saying how much it's investing or how much workers will make. Hiring will be phased over five years. 


Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Tammy Craft says the state is providing a $2 million grant for building improvements and $750,000 for worker training. Lee County will provide a projected $800,000 in property tax abatements over 10 years. The Tennessee Valley Authority is providing unspecified assistance. 


The company is leasing the building from Tupelo's Community Development Foundation. 


Williams-Sonoma, which sells furniture under the Pottery Barn, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma Home brands, also has factories in Claremont, North Carolina, and City of Industry, California. Williams-Sonoma launched its custom upholstered furniture-making unit -- named Sutter Street -- in 2007. Chief Operating Officer Dean Miller says Williams-Sonoma's direct-to-consumer furniture business has grown significantly in recent years.




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