Grant contract executed for furniture company

By Tom Joyce

June 21, 2014

Mount Airy officials have executed a contract for a $480,000 state grant to aid a growing furniture company in the city, which they hope will lead to more jobs.

The building reuse and restoration grant was awarded on behalf of Shenandoah Furniture Inc. on Mountain View Drive, the former site of Henredon Furniture. The city government had applied for the money in June 2013 for what then went by the code name “Project Craftsman.”

It was targeted to help the company renovate a vacant building for a new manufacturing operation and create nearly 50 jobs. That was to occur through $960,000 in renovations to the 95,000-square-foot facility and about $700,000 in new production equipment, officials said at the time.

A $2.7 million investment will be involved altogether, including $2.2 million from the company by next January, the state grant and $12,000 in local matching funds from both Mount Airy and Surry County.

Local officials had hoped to know the fate of the grant within a few months after the application was filed, but it was not awarded until earlier this year. That was due to a transition of economic grant programs from the North Carolina Rural Center, where the application was made, to the state Department of Commerce as part of legislative actions in Raleigh.

And once the award was made, officials had to wait for the contract to come through, which culminated with action by the city board of commissioners Thursday night to execute the grant agreement.

“It’s been delayed, but we’re very, very glad to have it,” city Community Development Director Martin Collins said.

Shenandoah Furniture — which specializes in the manufacture of clean-lined upholstered products in the upper-medium price range for various private labels — initially committed to creating 48 new jobs in relation to the grant.

“They’ve met and exceeded that,” said Collins, who added that since the money is now in place for the plant refurbishing more hiring hopefully will result. “They came here because they were interested in our work force,” he said of the company that was launched in Collinsville, Va., in 1981.

“Shenandoah, in my opinion, has been a very positive addition.”

Board Appointments

Among other action Thursday night, the city commissioners:

• Reappointed three members to the Library Board — Cooper Adams, Kelly Merritt and Judy Rhoden. All were tapped for new three-year terms that will expire on June 30, 2017.

• Approved the reappointments of three members to the Mount Airy Historic Preservation Commission, also for three-year terms to expire on June 30, 2017. They include Barbara Oliver, Glenda Creech and John Kidwell.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.