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United Furniture is located in Archdale. (Google Maps)

United Furniture sends virtual pink slips to all employees

ARCHDALE — United Furniture Industries has ceased operations, effective Nov. 21.

Based in Okolona, Miss., the furniture manufacturer has plants in Archdale, Lexington and Winston-Salem. The shutdown affects an estimated 245 employees in Archdale-Trinity, 220 in Lexington and another 50-70 in Winston-Salem.

Calls to United Furniture offices in both Archdale and Mississippi were unanswered Wednesday.

All employees of United Furniture received the following email:

“At the instruction of the Board of Directors of United Furniture Industries, Inc. and all subsidiaries (the "Company"), we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances the Company has been forced to make the difficult decision to terminate the employment of all its employees, effective immediately, on November 21, 2022, with the exception of over-the-road drivers that are out on delivery. Your layoff from the Company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without provision of COBRA. Over-the-road drivers that are out on delivery will be paid for the balance of the week. Whether or not you have completed your delivery, please immediately return equipment, inventory, and delivery documents for those deliveries that have been completed to one of the following locations: Winston-Salem, NC, Verona, MS, or Victorville, CA location. To be clear, do not complete any additional deliveries. We regret that this difficult and unexpected situation has made this necessary. Additional information will be provided shortly. Thank you for your service and dedication.”

Kevin Franklin, president of the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, said he was concerned that so many employees had lost their jobs. He pledged to collaborate with other agencies to “work to do what we can to connect with the employees for hiring” at other companies.

Franklin said his only knowledge of United Furniture’s problems is what he has seen on the news. He did reference the layoffs of United employees a few months ago at a metal stamping plant in High Point and a reduction of forces in Winston-Salem.

“You hate to see this happen to anyone, especially right before the holiday season,” Franklin said. “If there’s any good news, it’s that some furniture industries are hiring.”