Signs posted on entrances over weekend; 486 employees in Alexander and 47 in Iredell affected
By MICAH HENRY
(updated Aug. 30, 2023, 6:15 p.m.)
A Taylorsville furniture company has closed down over the weekend, due to monetary problems leaving it unable to continue operations.
Officials with the company, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, posted signs on the truck gate and office door of the Taylorsville plant at One Comfortable Place off Millersville Road dated Saturday, August 26.
The signs include:
“Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has recently and unexpectedly learned that we are unable to continue business operations.
“Any MG+BW employees that are located at the following NC locations should not report to work as of Monday, August 28th:
• Main Plant: Taylorsville
• Frame Plant: Hiddenite
• NCDC: Statesville
• Any home office remote workers are not to log in
• All home office workers.
“We are sorry about the difficulties this may cause.
“As soon as we have a schedule to get your tools & personal belongings, we will contact you. Thank you.”
Companies that have announced plans to either close a facility or conduct a mass personnel layoff are required to file with the state, under certain circumstances, a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification—commonly called a WARN notice. The WARN notice filed by Mitchell Gold Co. leaders on August 28 stated, in part, “At the present time, it is expected that approximately 440 employees at or assigned/reporting to our Taylorsville site, 47 employees at or assigned/reporting to our Statesville site, and 46 employees at or assigned/reporting to our Hiddenite site will be permanently laid off.”
Company co-founder speaks
Mitchell Gold, co-founder who started the company in 1989 with business partner Bob Williams, retired in July 2019. From that time, Gold and Williams had no involvement in running the company, he said, until April 2023 when Gold was brought in to support the new CEO, Chris Moye. Gold has assisted Moye with vendor relations, marketing, and employee relations in the past four months.
“He’s been really employee-oriented and well oriented toward our suppliers,” Gold related.
Gold said in a phone interview August 28 that he was “beyond heartbroken, depressed, frustrated, and angry” with the situation. “I feel just horrible for my employees, who have been such great employees for so many years. Some have been there for six months, some have been there for 34 years.”
Gold said he is making calls and hoping to raise capital to get financing to resurrect operations, if possible. He estimated this would take $25 to $30 million.
Current owner is private investment firm in Arkansas
Since 2014, the majority shareholder in Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has been The Stephens Group, based in Arkansas, which is a private family investment firm, according to the company’s website. When contacted about the closure, the firm issued the following statement:
“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. 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.
“We invested in Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (the “Company”) in 2014 in full support of the Company’s priorities, solid vision, and unique offerings. Over the past 9 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. Recently, we invested another $20 million to restructure the Company to support its operations and set the business up for success moving forward.
“Unfortunately, shortly after this restructuring, the Company’s lender withdrew its support, forcing Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to cease operations. 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,” the statement read.
CEO letter posted on office door
On Saturday, August 26, the office door displayed a letter from Chris Moye, Interim CEO for the company, who took the leadership position April 21. The letter from Moye reads as follows:
August 26, 2023
Via Mail and Email
Re: Notice to Employees Regarding Separation Due to Facility Closure
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with official notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
As you may know, the current economic climate has presented significant challenges to the furniture industry. While we have been buoyed by the support of our wonderful employees, like yourself, The Mitchell Gold Co. d/b/a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (the “Company”) has recently and unexpectedly learned that we are unable to secure critical financing to continue business operations. In the wake of this unfortunate development, the Company will sadly need to wind down operations and terminate the employment of our employees beginning on August 26, 2023. Because these events were unforeseen, we were unable to provide you and others with more notice of this difficult decision.
Your position will be affected by these events, and your last day of employment with the Company is expected to be on October 25 [Editor’s note: state officials say the date is August 25], 2023, unless you are asked to perform additional services during the 14 day period from that date (or your layoff date is otherwise revised from that date). We are sorry to have to bring you this news.
There are no “bumping rights” to determine who will be separated, and this is a permanent separation. We are also notifying the appropriate local elected officials and the State’s Dislocated Worker and Rapid Response Unit so that you and other employees can be provided as much assistance and opportunity as possible.
With respect to final pay, you will be paid your final wages, if any, up through your last day of employment. Any benefits from the Company, including health insurance benefits, will end on August 31, 2023.
You may be eligible for continuation of certain Company Benefits at your expense through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”). Information related to continuation of these benefits will be mailed to you separately. You should contact your local unemployment office for information regarding the availability of unemployment insurance benefits (https://www.des.nc.gov/individuals/apply-unemployment).
We regret that this difficult and unexpected situation has made this necessary. We also thank you for your service and dedication to the Company and we wish you and your family the best during this transition.
Should you have any questions about the matters contained in this notice or any other issues, please feel free to contact me.
The Mitchell Gold Co.
NCWorks staff to provide assistance to former MG+BW employees
Alexander County Commissioners and staff have been working with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG), Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board, and NCWorks to facilitate assistance for those who lost their jobs following the closure of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. NCWorks Career Center staff will be in Alexander County to assist these employees beginning this Tuesday.
NCWorks staff will be on hand at the CVCC Alexander Applied Technologies Center (230 Industrial Blvd, Taylorsville) on the following dates: Tuesday, August 29, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Wednesday, August 30, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday, August 31 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Tuesday, September 5, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Wednesday, September 6, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; and Thursday, September 7, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
They can assist with services such as: career planning and coaching, resume review and development, job preparation workshops, scholarships for training, and skills assessment and labor market information.
NCWorks staff cannot file a person’s unemployment claim, but they can walk through the steps of filing a claim.
For more information, call the NCWorks Career Center at (828) 466-5535.
(See more important information at this link.)