Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Ison Furniture Manufacturing, Inc., a North Carolina-based furniture manufacturer, will invest $3.5 million to acquire and renovate the recently closed A.C. Furniture Company, Inc. facility in Pittsylvania County. The company will also purchase new equipment for the assembly and full production of its upholstered furniture products. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for the project, which will create 150 new jobs. The company’s supplier, Dogwood Global, LLC, will locate to a vacant 30,000-square-foot building onsite, investing $500,000 in new equipment and adding 45 new jobs to manufacture high-end wood tables and custom furniture frames that will be upholstered by Ison Furniture.
“We are pleased to welcome Ison Furniture Manufacturing and Dogwood Global to Southern Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “Manufacturing is an important pillar of many communities across our Commonwealth and is key to rebuilding our economy in the wake of the ongoing global pandemic. The region’s strong history with textiles and furniture combined with the caliber of the existing upholstery and furniture-building workforce makes this project a natural fit for Pittsylvania County, and we look forward to the future success of this new operation.”
Ison Furniture Manufacturing, Inc. produces contemporary furniture for consumer and hospitality markets. The company has two facilities in North Carolina, and the new operation represents its first in Virginia. The former A.C. Furniture Company in Pittsylvania County operated from 1977 to March 2020 and developed a strong textiles and furniture workforce in the region. As part of the project, Ison will also utilize excess upholstery and sewing capacity at the facility to manufacture personal protective equipment products to support the local COVID-19 response.
“Ison Furniture’s decision to establish its newest furniture production operation in Pittsylvania County is great news for Southern Virginia, and it demonstrates the infrastructure and workforce advantages that continue to attract high-quality manufacturers,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We thank Ison and supplier Dogwood Global for creating valuable job opportunities, and we are confident the region will deliver a sustainable talent pipeline to facilitate the growth of both companies.”
“Ison Furniture Manufacturing, Inc. is excited to become part of the historic Virginia furniture industry,” said Akira Ison, President of Ison Furntiure Manufacturing. “Southern Virginia is known for having some of the finest furniture craftsmen in the country, and Virginia has led the way in providing a foundation for businesses and employees to grow and prosper together. Local and state government embraced our concept of designing a COVID-conscious facility, and our family-owned business looks forward to helping over 150 employees prosper and take care of their families.”
“Our initial plan was to open the factory in North Carolina, but Virginia was far and away a better option,” said Rodney Terry, Vice President of Business Development for Dogwood Global, LLC. “The economic environment Virginia has built over the years gave us the confidence that our financial investment would be secure. We told the economic development group that we had contracts we had to fill, and the speed moved on this project blew us away. Virginia is ready for business.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Pittsylvania County, the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $186,500 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Pittsylvania County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $86,500 from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund (TROF). Funding and services to support Ison Furniture’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved $23,500 from TROF for Dogwood Global, LLC.
“This announcement is yet another demonstration of the excellence of Pittsylvania County’s workforce and the effectiveness of our efforts to bring high-quality manufacturing jobs to our locality and region,” said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “We are thankful that Ison Furniture, as well as Dogwood Global, LLC, have decided to expand into Pittsylvania County, and we are excited to see the positive and long-term impacts for our citizens that come from this project.”
“The fact that our region successfully competed for this project demonstrates that the investments we have made to ensure that Southern Virginia is a great place to do business are paying off,” said Tobacco Commission member Dr. Alexis Ehrhardt. “We have a skilled workforce ready to start on day one, and I look forward to seeing Ison Furniture begin the hiring process.”
“I am delighted that Ison has chosen to come to our area,” said Senator Frank Ruff. “I have no doubt that they will find good, hardworking employees and a welcoming community.”
“Our region and the Axton location are a great match for Ison Furniture,” said Delegate Danny Marshall. “The manufacturing space, the trained and experienced furniture-building workforce, and the community enthusiasm are already here. We welcome Ison Furniture’s investment in our community and the 150 jobs it will bring. We thank the leadership of Ison Furniture for selecting our area and wish the company great success here.”