Heritage Home closing another N.C. plant

Mar. 29, 2014 @ 01:01 AM

HIGH POINT - The longtime Pearson Co. home furnishings plant on Progress Avenue will close later this year, the third plant in the area that will be closed by the company that took over the lines of bankrupt Furniture Brands International four months ago.

Heritage Home Group informed employees last week that the factory will close in stages through the end of August. The closure of the factory, founded by the Pearson family of High Point in 1942, will affect 86 employees, according to the company.

In January, Heritage Home Group announced it would close Thomasville Plant C and Thomasville Plant C-Area 100 in Davidson County, eliminating 84 jobs, because of adverse business conditions.

The plant closings by Heritage Home Group come as the company reportedly is talking to High Point recruiters about relocating its corporate headquarters from its longtime home in St. Louis to here, though neither company officials, city nor High Point Market officials have publicly discussed it.

Late last year, KPS Capital Partners announced the formation of a new company, Heritage Home Group, which acquired Furniture Brand International’s assets for $280 million. Furniture Brands’ holdings included Thomasville Furniture, Drexel Heritage, Broyhill, Lane, Henredon, Pearson, Hickory Chair, Lane Venture, Maitland-Smith and La Barge brands.

A relative of the family that founded Pearson 72 years ago said she’s saddened that the plant will close.

The Pearson family helped contribute “to the city of High Point becoming the furniture capital of the world,” said Martha Pearson Kapp, whose uncle, Clyde Pearson, founded the business. The Pearson family, through the company, provided paychecks and a better life to thousands of employees who worked there over decades, she said.

“I recall many stories of how they struggled in the early years just to make enough money to buy supplies,” said Kapp, a lifelong High Point resident.

Once the company became successful, the Pearson family took care of their workers, many of whom stayed with the business for 20 to 30 years, Kapp said. The Pearson company merged with Lane Home Furnishings in the late 1970s, and Lane later became part of Furniture Brands International.

“It’s the death of an industry in High Point that’s so sad,” Kapp said.