Vanguard Furniture expands its upholstery operations to Morganton, N.C.

The facility, which began production last month, is making upholstery and will handle assembly and custom finishing for the company’s Make It Yours case goods program

MORGANTON, N.C. — Upholstery and case goods manufacturer Vanguard Furniture has undertaken a $5.9 million expansion of its upholstery operations with a new plant here that will bring as many as 100 new jobs to the region.

The company currently employs 680 workers in seven manufacturing facilities in Conover, N.C. and Hillsville, Va. The expansion will be its eighth manufacturing plant.

“North Carolina continues to be the global leader for furniture manufacturing,” said Governor Roy Cooper in making the announcement. “Vanguard’s decision to expand in our state affirms that our quality of life and skilled workforce can provide a thriving business climate that brings success.”

The new manufacturing facility is in a former 163,000-square-foot former Drexel Heritage plant the company announced it purchased in Morganton earlier this year.

Vanguard Furniture President Andy Bray was not available for comment. However, a company spokesperson told Home News Now that the facility began production in mid March and began shipping its first completed upholstery pieces by the end of the month. In addition to upholstery manufacturing, the facility will handle assembly and wood finishing for the company’s Make It Yours custom wood line.

“With the largest furniture manufacturing industry and work force in the United States, North Carolina is a confident choice for Vanguard,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “When we combine being first in furniture with being first in talent, North Carolina will continue to maintain its reputation as the furniture capital of the world.”

The company is utilizing a $250,000 performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund to help fund the project. This fund provides financial assistant to local governments to help attract jobs and investment in their communities.

In order to receive the funds and qualify for payment, companies like Vanguard must meet certain job creating and capital investment targets. In addition, the grant funding requires a match from local governments, and any award is based on that condition being met.

The plant currently employs just over a dozen workers and is looking to hire up to 100 within the next two to three years.

State officials said that while the salaries for the new jobs will vary by position, the average annual salary is $42,536, which exceeds surrounding Burke County’s average annual wage of $39,499. The new jobs also could create an annual payroll of more than $4.2 million for the region.

Other key partners along with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Western Piedmont Community College, the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Burke County, Burke Development, Inc. and the City of Morganton.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

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