Business Briefs

Williams-Sonoma Subsidiary to Open Plant, Add 820 Jobs in Hickory

Posted April 14, 2008 12:35 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2008 12:44 p.m. EDT

— Sutter Street Manufacturing, a subsidiary of furniture retailer Williams-Sonoma, will open a distribution and manufacturing center in Hickory, creating 820 jobs.

The company chose Hickory for the facility with the state of North Carolina providing up to $8.96 million in tax incentives over a 10-year period. The incentives are rebates based on income taxes paid by new employees.

Sutter Street will invest $2.7 million in the facility. The company has pledged to create the 820 jobs over a five-year period.

The North Carolina Economic Investment Committee approved the Job Development Investment Grant, or JDIG, Monday morning.

“We selected the Catawba County area based on its highly skilled work force and North Carolina’s commitment to supporting the furniture industry and related jobs in the state,” Howard Lester, Williams-Sonoma’s chairman and chief executive officer, said.

“We are excited about the opportunity to make an investment in North Carolina and Catawba County in an effort to protect the high level of furniture-related skills that exist here,” Lester continued.

The state’s furniture industry has been hammered in recent years by international competition, leading to many plant closings and layoffs.

“There is a great tradition of furniture-making in our state, and I am glad Williams-Sonoma is bringing it back,” said Gov. Mike Easley. “I hope this is the first in a long line of furniture-related industries we will be recruiting with better skill and higher pay.”

Sutter Street Manufacturing was formed in 2007. The company already employs 50 people in Hickory. The N.C. operation will provide upholstered furniture to Williams-Sonoma. The jobs will pay average wages of $42,000 plus benefits.

Williams-Sonoma products are sold under that name as well as Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma Home.