ASHEBORO – Klaussner Furniture Industries, which once had been the largest employer in Randolph County, is shutting down operations at all its facilities, the company announced Monday.
The company was tightly tied to Asheboro, which housed its corporate headquarters.
According to a news release: “Klaussner’s lending source has unexpectedly refused to continue to fund the Company’s operations. This outcome was not reasonably foreseeable, but due to these unexpected circumstances, Klaussner can no longer sustain its operations.”
There will be more than 3,800 job losses, with a majority of those connected to Asheboro and Randolph County, based on some reports. The company’s announcement said the process of shuttering all its facilities began Monday.
The company is working to provide additional information and resources for its displaced employees.
“This information will be communicated directly to employees via contact information we have on file,” the company’s release said.
Klaussner Home Furnishings has been a leading solutions provider to the furniture industry since 1963. The company manufactures more than 70 percent of its products domestically through its five manufacturing campuses in North Carolina.
A published report in 2020 said that about 4,000 people were employed in the state by Klaussner. There were also facilities in Candor and Robbins after more than 160 workers were impacted by a Greensboro plant closing. That was believed to be the first time the company closed a plant.
FurnitureToday, a trade site, reported Monday that based on multiple industry sources “the company had been challenged recently to maintain current payments with key suppliers and had difficulty receiving goods.”
According to Furniture World Magazine, the company was founded by Stuart Love in 1963 and purchased by Hans Klaussner in 1979. Klaussner’s management team acquired the company in 2011, then sold it to private equity firm Monomoy Capital Partners in 2017.
Brands that might be most recognizable that were manufactured by Klaussner Furniture are Trisha Yearwood Home Collection and Stacy Garcia Home.
Klaussner Furniture’s announcement follows the March closing of a furniture manufacturer in Thomasville. Creative Metal and Wood, Inc., had been in business since 1954.
In June, Cox Manufacturing in Hickory shut down after 90 years in operation.
Rescue workers prepare to remove a driver from a vehicle last month in Asheboro. (Scott Pelkey/Randolph Record)
ASHEBORO – A Verizon store has wheels – temporarily, anyway.
The store on East Dixie Drive in Asheboro was damaged by a vehicle last month. In order to remain in position to serve customers, workers are operating out of a mobile trailer.
The April 10 accident occurred in the early evening and resulted in the driver being transported to a hospital in Greensboro with injuries that were described as serious but not life-threatening. Rescue crews had to secure the vehicle in place before extricating the driver.
The front of the vehicle was about 8 feet off the ground. The driver was pulled from the rear hatch.
Employees were in the Verizon store at the time of the accident. No injuries were reported.
However, the building was determined to be unsafe by a building inspector because of the structural damage.
ASHEBORO – The North Carolina Zoo closed Monday because of a security threat, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and zoo reported.
A bomb threat had been received at about 10:47 a.m. through electronic means and reported to law enforcement from a representative of North Carolina Zoo.
A juvenile has been identified as the subject of the threat.
Visitors and staff were evacuated. Later, zoo officials announced that 1,372 guests were evacuated.
Emergency crews were called to the zoo. Law enforcement officials conducted a search of the zoo grounds. By 1:39 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office completed its work at the scene.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad was asked to standby, but wasn’t asked to respond to the scene.
The Sheriff’s Office said that all “units are working with Zoo Park Rangers to secure the zoo perimeter and evacuate all patrons.”
Guests who spoke to reporters said they were asked to leave because of a “security incident.”
Among the visitors were students from Guilford County on a field trip.
“All school groups have been successfully evacuated from the zoo campus following a security threat,” according to a statement from North Carolina Zoo.
Based on online reports from visitors, the process was orderly and calm in assisting with patrons leaving the zoo grounds.
By Monday afternoon, North Carolina Zoo announced that normal operations would resume Tuesday.
Randolph County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations division identified the origin of the threat. A juvenile petition will be filed with the Department of Juvenile Justice, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office had five search teams on the scene to check all public areas of the zoo.
Zoo officials will provide refunds or return tickets. They also said they hope to reschedule school groups.
Zoo officials also said that their caretakers have continued animal care. “We are prioritizing ongoing animal care based on medical needs,” the statement said.
ASHEBORO — The Pizza Inn project in Asheboro seems back on track.
The opening of the restaurant at 1216 East Dixie Dr. could be coming soon.
Progress has been made at the site of the former home to Uptown Charlie.
The Texas-based pizza chain had dubbed the Asheboro location for the first reveal of its new design. While that was intended to happen by late 2022, the marketing drum for the restaurant has begun to beat again.
Asheboro’s Pizza Inn appears at least about a month away from opening.
It’s an overhaul for the chain, which is redesigning its stores and even turning to a new mascot.
“Pizza is fun, and it’s an American staple that provides a sense of comfort and nostalgia unlike any other kind of experience,” Claire Oakley, director of client services for BooneOakley, said in a statement.
Advertising company BooneOakley and retail design firm Chute Gerdeman have been gearing up for an opening. The exterior of the building appears ready.
The interior is expected to include a party room with an accent wall and a game room. There will be an outdoor patio at most locations.
The pizza chain has about 135 locations. Those include restaurants in High Point and Durham.
The chain reported a decrease in sales in 2021 during the pandemic, but that generally was expected to turn around.
When open, the restaurant will have several options for patrons, including a buffet along with typical in-restaurant dining and carry-out.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-09) made a stop in Asheboro last Thursday with Congress out of session.
In a visit to Randolph County’s Emergency Services department, Hudson was able to thank first responders for their work and tour the building. He visited the 911 call center and spoke with county leaders.
A day earlier, Hudson opened his new flagship district office in Southern Pines.
“As your Congressman, I am committed to delivering results for families throughout our region and providing top-notch customer service from our offices in both Washington, D.C. and North Carolina,” said Hudson at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I look forward to helping more constituents navigate federal government agencies like the VA (Veteran’s Affairs) and being accessible to hear your needs, thoughts, and concerns on key issues facing our community and nation.”
In addition to the new office, U.S. Rep. Hudson also has office locations in Washington, D.C. and Fayetteville.
ASHEBORO — The Asheboro City Council met Thursday, February 9, with one public hearing and a few funding items on the agenda.
The council opened the meeting with a public hearing that was continued at last month’s meeting for a rezoning application for a property on Golda Avenue in order to construct a multi-family development.
“This is an application filed by Darren Lucas, who is the owner of the property,” said Community Development Director Trevor Nuttall. “It is a request to take the property from a medium-density residential district (R10) to a high-density (RA6) conditional zoning district for a multi-family development. It’s about 8.5 acres in size, and the property is currently undeveloped.”
Since the January meeting, the applicant made some changes to the plan in order to placate the concerns brought up at that meeting.
Some of those changes included the reduction of total units from 46 to 44, the addition of at least 10 more feet of landscaping buffer on the western property line, and the full continuation of a sidewalk around the property.
However, one of the biggest concerns over the project was the projected traffic impact on a road that already needed improvements.
“Since last month’s meeting, city staff has met to make a recommendation in terms of roadway improvements that would make sense for Golda Avenue in light of its current conditions and in light of this proposal,” Nuttall said. “The staff’s recommendation is for a roadway with new asphalt to be applied to Golda Avenue at either the conclusion of the construction of this project, so as to not damage new surfacing that we may put down, or if the project doesn’t move forward, for the city to do that project as we had originally identified.”
So according to Nuttall, the city will be responsible for repaving and widening Golda Avenue, but will wait for the completion of the project so that the heavy trucks and machinery do not destroy the repaving.
Following the hearing, the council voted to approve the rezoning request.
“I think the concerns of those who were primarily in opposition were relative to the access as it related to Golda Avenue and secondary to Lamar Avenue and then also the closeness and proximity to the back of those properties on Lamar Avenue,” said Councilmember Clark Bell I think the developer has tried to address those and the city has addressed the width of Golda on a consistent basis.”
The council then approved a memorandum of understanding with the North Carolina Department of Commerce to allocate $55 million in funding to construct a water transmission line to the Chatham Advanced Manufacturing Site once a deal between Wolfspeed and the Chamber of Commerce is finalized.
“We have been heavily involved in the economic development for the Chatham Advanced Manufacturing Site,” said Water Resources Director Michael Rhoney. “Particularly the Wolfspeed project. The state has allocated $55 million to the city of Asheboro to construct a water transmission line to the site. In the August meeting, I came to you to share that we were going to contract with Piedmont Triad Regional Council to let them help us provide professional services and do strategic management so that we can get all the players in Randolph County, the municipalities, the county and ourselves, together to figure out a plan and to get the water line from here to there. The department of commerce needs the city to sign a memorandum of understanding so that we have the agreement with them in place.”
The council then approved two change orders relating to the Zoo City Sportsplex Project.
The first was Change Order Number 6 from Terry’s Plumbing and Utilities, which adds $698,496.73 for additional rock removal, an additional retaining wall, additional grading, concrete work, conduit for electrical lines, final grading around fields 5-8 from turf installation, additional change order work for fields 3-4, and fencing.
The second was Change Order Number 7 from Terry’s Plumbing and Utilities, which is $402,260 for seven picnic shelters.
“Those are seven picnic shelters, and a couple of them are really large, like 50 or 60 feet long and 30 or 40 feet wide,” said Mayor David Smith. “They’re various sizes, and they’ll be all over the place.”
The final action was to approve the allocation of $75,000 from the fund balance in order to finance a tribute band concert series.
“We’re requesting funding for a partnership with Downtown Asheboro, Inc for the second year of a four-band, Friday night tribute concert series,” said Finance Director Deborah Reaves. “It was very successful in 2022, and so the city and DAI are partnering again to do that in 2023. Our bands are 1964, which is a Beatles tribute band in May; the Petty Breakers, which is a Tom Petty tribute band in July; On the Border, which is an Eagles tribute band in August; and a Stevie Wonder tribute band.”
The City of Asheboro Council will next meet March 9.
Here’s the former B.B. Walker Company building during its recent demolition. (Randolph Record)
ASHEBORO — Plans for the former home of B.B. Walker Company – known to locals as Walker Shoe Company – in Asheboro have been kept mostly close to the vest despite widespread speculation.
There could be something forthcoming after the demolition of the building at the 414 East Dixie Dr. site.
One local real estate agent said the prospects for the location have generated considerable chatter. “There’s all sort of rumors all over town, and they’re all unfounded,” he said. “It’s going to be a project.”
Either way, just the anticipation for what might be next for the location is fostering speculation.
Meanwhile, the downtown building that’s often known as the PNC Bank building continues to be for sale, according to officials with the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber.
That building on Fayetteville Street remained vacant at the beginning of the new year.
“It’s up for grabs,” a Chamber official said.
The Asheboro/Randolph Chamber was able to confirm a couple of businesses that are in the works.
Black Powder Smokehouse will open at 516 South Fayetteville St. That restaurant, which is promoted as specializing in artisan barbecue, could be open within a month once it passes certain code requirements.
There’s also a Black Powder Smokehouse in Jamestown. That location is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and it’s closed Sundays and Mondays. Black Powder Smokehouse was established in 2016.
Also, a Tropical Smoothie Café is planned for Asheboro on N.C. 64. It will be in a new building that is expected to be constructed adjacent to Golden Waffle.
ASHEBORO — Early voting begins Oct. 20 and runs daily, except on Sundays, through Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 8.
Early voting runs from 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays (Oct. 22 and 29), and from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 5.
There are four early voting locations. Randolph County residents can cast ballots at any of those. On Election Day, voters can only vote at their designated precincts.
The early voting sites are: Randolph County Board of Elections, 1457 North Fayetteville St., Asheboro; Braxton Craven School gym, 7037 NC Highway 62, Trinity; Randleman Civic Center, 122 Commerce Square, Randleman; Franklinville United Methodist Church, 227 West Main St., Franklinville.
The Randolph County Board of Elections canceled its September meeting. Its next meeting is set for Oct. 4. The agenda will include consideration of absentee ballots received by the meeting date.
ASHEBORO — The 48th annual Fall Festival in Asheboro has cancelled, according to a statement from the Randolph Arts Guild, which manages the event.
“Sadly, the Annual Fall Festival committee and Randolph Arts Guild Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the 2022 Fall Festival, October 1-2, 2022 for the safety of our vendors, entertainers, attendees, sponsors, and downtown merchants,” the statement from the guild says.
The group cited an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as the path of Hurricane Ian puts much of central and eastern North Carolina in line for rain in the next several days.
However, the state of emergency only covers various changes relating to transportation and emergency management, and does not prohibit outdoor events from being held.
“The Randolph Arts Guild Board knows that this cancellation does not come without consequence. The Fall Festival is an essential economic driver for local non-profits, community groups, small businesses, and vendors. We understand the disappointment that this may bring, as many in the city of Asheboro and throughout Randolph County look forward to this great event. The Randolph Arts Guild is dedicated to doing our part for the safety of our community,” the group’s statement continues.Vendor refunds for registration fees will be issued no later than Tuesday, Nov. 1, according to the guild.