12/24/04 — Boling Furniture closes for holiday

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Boling Furniture closes for holiday

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on December 24, 2004 1:58 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Boling Furniture Co. has closed for an extended holiday break as company officials negotiate the plant's sale to a Mount Olive businessman.

The shutdown has idled more than 40 workers, but some are expected to return to work next week to complete orders. The plant is not taking new orders now.

The plant's controller, John Kissel, sent a letter to Boling vendors that said the plant had ceased production on Dec. 17 and had been sold to Doug Wiggins of Red Hill Distributors Inc.

"The end of an era has arrived," Kissel wrote.

But that letter was sent out in error, Wiggins said today. "There's still quite a bit that has to be done."

Wiggins is in negotiations to buy the plant and move his company there, he said. The plant would continue to make furniture under the Boling brand.

But he is still talking to the Wayne County Economic Development Commission and the N.C. Department of Commerce about any incentives that would be available, he added.

"In order for me to be successful running Boling, I would need to put together the best package possible," he said.

Wiggins hopes to be able to make a decision on the sale by year's end.

Boling officials could not be reached for comment.

Boling mainly manufactures wooden school and office furniture, including bookcases, desks and chairs. The plant, at the intersection of Church Road and Old Mount Olive Highway, had been in operation for more than 90 years.

It had lost sales in recent years as most furniture manufacturing has moved to Mexico or overseas. The plant has had three owners in the past decade. The plant nearly closed two years ago, according to information from the EDC, but was saved by the intervention of the Osborne Co. of Eden.

The company has added product lines in recent years to try to increase sales. One of the products is called the "hip chair," which is designed for people who have had hip replacement surgery.