TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. – Four days after Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams posted a sign on its factory gates in North Carolina saying it was closing, unanswered questions about what happened to the upholstery and retail chain remain.
Furniture Today reached out to The Stephens Group, a family-owned equity group based in Little Rock, Ark., that invested in the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in 2014, for answers. The company shared a statement that did little to answer the question of how the company – the second North Carolina manufacturer to close this month, following Klaussner Home Furnishings – met its demise so quickly.
The group said it had recently invested another $20 million to restructure the company to support its operations and set the business up for success.
“Unfortunately, shortly after this restructuring, the company’s lender withdrew its support, forcing Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to cease operations,” according to the statement. “The Stephens Group knows that the company has done the best it could in a very challenging situation and empathizes with all those who are impacted.”
Those impacted include 533 workers across three factories in North Carolina, according to the WARN notice received by the N.C. Department of Commerce Monday morning.
Home furnishings companies in west central North Carolina that includes Hickory, Taylorsville and Conover and other furniture towns have filled social media feeds, including LinkedIn, with notices announcing jobs for displaced workers. Craftmaster, Bassett Furniture Inds., Schneider Mills, Chaddock, EJ Victor and other producers have openings. Retailers, including Arhaus, are also sharing posts to recruit workers.
“At the Stephens Group, we pride ourselves in our principles and living those out through how we conduct our business, who we work with and what we invest in,” the statement said. “Throughout our history, we have been able to help many companies unlock their value and succeed in the marketplace. While we do everything we can to support our portfolio companies, how their stories play out are not always fully within our control.”
The statement said when Stephens Group invested in Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, it was “in full support of the company’s priorities, solid vision, and unique offerings. Over the past nine years, we have worked closely with the company as it has released new and exciting collections, collaborated with various designers and designed unique pieces that are used with love in homes all across the world.”