Update: Production resuming at American Furniture Mfg.
October 17, 2018,
Updated Oct. 17
PONTOTOC, Miss. – Production is set to resume at American Furniture Mfg.'s stationary upholstery plant here, which was not damaged by last week's fire. The fire destroyed 125,000 square feet of warehouse space and the company's administrative offices.
In addition, some 125,000 square feet of onsite warehouse space that escaped the blaze with only smoke damage will be converted to manufacturing operation."We officially start stationary upholstery manufacturing on Monday morning," said American Furniture President Randy Spak in a phone interview. "We're going to add additional capacity starting Monday and build that out every week for three weeks" in the former warehouse.
Currently, American is draining inventory from that onsite warehouse space to make room for adding several upholstery lines over the next couple of weeks. As previously reported, warehousing has been shifted to a 350,000-square-foot facility located in nearby Sherman.
Spak said the plant site is "swarming" with federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and that the investigation of the fire remains ongoing.
Reported Oct. 13
PONTOTOC, Miss. – A fire early Saturday morning at American Furniture Mfg.’s manufacturing facility here destroyed around 125,000-square-feet of finished goods warehousing as well as the promotional upholstery producer’s administrative offices.
No one was injured in the blaze, which was discovered around 5:30 a.m. local time, according to American Furniture President Randy Spak. The fire consumed or smoke-damaged about 17,000 to 18,000 pieces – a week’s delivery worth of goods – and caused smoke damage in an adjoining 125,000 square feet of warehouse space and in the neighboring recliner factory. The stationary upholstery plant was untouched.
American’s computer servers at the office were removed in time to avoid damage.
An investigation is underway, and while the cause in unknown so far, Spak believes the fire was “suspicious” in origin. A January fire destroyed 400,000 square feet of warehousing at the same site.
Spak noted some silver linings to the fire: “First and foremost, no one was hurt, and when you assess both fires here, this time is much less disruptive. Second, our stationary factory is untouched, and our cut-and-sew kits are fine since they’re stored off site.”
The disruption caused by the fire appears less than initially feared. Production is unaffected at the stationary plant, and Spak expects perhaps a week in stationary shipping delays.
“The delay in recliners and motion is still to be determined,” he said, noting that after the investigation of the fire is complete, cleanup should take two to three weeks at the smoke-damaged plant. American also has ample space to store finished goods for shipping.
In the wake of January’s fire, American had acquired four facilities around Pontotoc to replace the 400,000 square feet of warehousing it lost then. Additionally, American also acquired a 350,000-square-foot warehouse 15 minutes from the plant in Sherman a month ago.
“Our factory can produce stationary on Monday,” Spak said in the High Point Market showroom. “Our plan is to produce goods, shuttle them to Sherman and ship from there.”
This is the second major fire at a Pontotoc-area furniture plant. On Sept. 27, a fire destroyed the finished goods warehouse at Washington Furniture.
Fire Update 10-16-2018
American Furniture Manufacturing suffered a fire over the weekend. Thankfully, no one was injured and we want to extend our gratitude to the first responders and the community for all of their continued support. We are now working to get our factory and systems operational. Currently, our phone systems are down. You can contact us via email or through your sales representative.
Fortunately, our stationary plant was unaffected by the fire. Stationary accounts for over 75% of our total business.
Prior to the fire, we had acquired a 350,000 square foot facility that we were already in the process of bringing online. This new facility is currently open and operational.