Design Foundry will open a new furniture manufacturing facility in Catawba County, creating 202 new jobs over five years. The company plans to invest more than $3.1 million in the project.
“North Carolina is the international home of the furniture industry with leading manufacturers, designers and events,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Our state’s experienced furniture talent is the reason for our success. Design Foundry’s decision to open a new facility in Hickory both underscores our reputation and sets the industry up for future growth.”
Design Foundry will manufacture upholstered furniture in partnership with a major furniture and home goods retailer. The company will emphasize the strong tradition of handmade furniture combined with technology in manufacturing to create new methods of manufacturing through supplier partnerships and internal research and development.
“We are excited to make Catawba County our home,” said Eric Fulcher, CEO/president of Design Foundry. “The community has a strong tradition of being makers of great things, with furniture being an important part of that history.”
“Investments in STEM programs within Catawba County helped affirm our decision to select Hickory, N.C. as the location for this new company,” he added. “We believe Catawba County can be at the forefront of combining innovative technology with the artisan craft. We are excited about the opportunities this will create for everyone. Together, with our skilled men and women, new generations will be introduced to upholstery manufacturing.”
Design Foundry will hire craftspeople, in addition to those with education or experience based in science, technology, engineering and math. The company plans to use advanced equipment and practices in their manufacturing processes. Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position and experience, with an average salary of $57,995. That is higher than the Catawba County average of $41,531.
“Workforce needs in every industry are changing rapidly, and furniture manufacturing and design is no different,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “I look forward to partnering with Design Foundry to make sure we are investing in our world-class furniture talent and offering opportunities for students and workers to gain new skills as the industry innovates.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) led the state’s support for the company’s selection.
The Design Foundry facility in Catawba County will be supported, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG). Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is expected to grow the state’s economy by an estimated $320 million. Using a formula that accounts for the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,545,300 spread over 12 years. State payments only occur after the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.
Because Design Foundry chose to designate its corporate headquarters in Catawba County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 2, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $171,700 in new tax revenue generated through the grant into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business.
Partnering with N.C. Commerce and the EDPNC on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Catawba County, the City of Hickory and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.