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Tue Jul 16, 2019, 02:17 AM

IKEA to Close Its Only U.S. Factory

Source: wsj.com


Furniture company to move plant’s operations to Europe, where it says production is less costly
By Charlie McGee
Updated July 15, 2019 6:43 pm ET

Furniture company IKEA is closing its only manufacturing site in the U.S., shifting the operations to Europe where it says production costs are lower.

The company’s Danville, Va., facility will be closing in December, resulting in about 300 job cuts. The plant, which opened in 2008, produces wooden shelves and storage units sold in IKEA stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“We...


Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/ikea-to-close-its-only-u-s-factory-11563218873

14 replies, 1996 views

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:01 AM

1. Chests of drawers that must be bolted to the wall so they don't

fall on you and kill you. Good looking piece of sh't.

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Response to democratisphere (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 02:39 PM

8. Well,

Any tall chest can fall over and injure someone.

IKEA gives you the fasteners and instructions to keep that from happening. Does anyone else do that?

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Response to tekriter (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:40 PM

10. Never seen a solid wood chest of drawers tip over when you pulled

out a drawer or two. IKEA is junk furniture that is cheaply made and has no substance.

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Response to democratisphere (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 06:23 AM

11. It's not so much a "quality" issue as a "center of gravity" issue

Pull out the bottom drawer of many such items, let a kid use it as a ladder step, and the center of gravity shifts. No matter the quality of the instructions needed to assemble the thing.

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Response to democratisphere (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 10:59 AM

12. And of all the IKEA furniture I own

and have given to members of my family, never once have I had an IKEA chest or dresser tip over just because one drawer was opened.

And I have never fastened them to the wall, either.

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Response to democratisphere (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 05:25 PM

14. Yeah, that's an Earthquake Strap. Every bookcase comes with one, Ikea or not.

There's one on my Hot Water Heater, too.

I had a 10' high, 100 year old, 100% American solid-wood bookcase fall over on me as a kid in a Comic Book store. No fun.

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 05:37 AM

2. Disappointing news.

I've had high hopes the furniture industry might have a slight revival in NC, VA, W-VA, KY, etc. to perhaps offset some coal mine job losses in our mountains.

With the possible exception of expensive custom items, Asians have essentially killed our furniture industry.

Local news source: https://www.godanriver.com/business/blaming-high-costs-of-materials-in-u-s-danville-s/article_48c641b0-a34d-11e9-bf2a-fba4d90767af.html

"Conditions are not in place to run competitive production in Danville," site manager Bert Eades said. "Despite many efforts to improve, the cost structure for production in Danville is still too high, especially, when it comes to raw materials. This results in pricing significantly higher than for other existing Ikea plants making the same products."

This plant is only 10 years old and Tim Kaine attended its opening ceremony.

KY......

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 06:24 AM

3. TPP provided the opportunity

To increase exports of 80% or more labor plus USA sourced components created/assembled furniture.

Screws, rails/brackets - that alone could kill the assemble facility. If they import the finished product - those items are not in list 1, 2, or 3 of the 301 Investigation.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 06:49 AM

4. I am sad to see it go also-for the reasons you site but also it was a wood factory

I like good solid wood furniture and know others who do also. my grandpa was a carpenter--made lots of wood furniture-much of which is still in the family-scattered in my homes.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 10:59 AM

6. A reporter for the Roanoke Times wrote a book about the furniture industry in Franklin and

Henry Counties. They are counties in Virginia between Roanoke, Virginia, and the border with North Carolina.

Come to think of it, I never did get around to finishing it.

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
< How A Factory Man Fought To Save His Furniture Company
July 14, 2014 3:16 PM ET

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Visit the town of Basset in Southern Virginia and you'll find some of the downtown streetlights are dark. The lamps, maintained by the once prosperous Bassett Furniture company are now funded by voluntary contributions from residents and businesses when they can afford it. Bassett is just one of many towns and cities in Virginia and North Carolina where scores of furniture making plants have closed in the past 20 years, mostly due to competition from China and other foreign countries. Our guest, Beth Macy, has a new book which documents the collapse of the American furniture industry and its human cost and profiles one determined owner who fought back against the foreign onslaught - both by filing anti-dumping charges against Chinese firms with the U.S. International Trade Commission and by making his own company more competitive. Beth Macy worked for years as a reporter for the Roanoke Times and she's also written for national magazines. She's received several national awards, including Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. She spoke to FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies about her book "Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local And Helped Save An American Town."

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Beth Macy, welcome to FRESH AIR. You know, this is a story of - a remarkable story of reporting. But it's clear you feel a personal connection to it in a lot of ways. Tell us a little bit just about your parents, your background, your childhood.

BETH MACY: Sure. I grew up in a factory town - Urbana, Ohio. I was the fourth of - by a long shot - of my parents and my mom worked in the airplane light factory called Grimes. And my dad was a house painter. He was often unemployed by the time I came along. And he was an alcoholic and my mom really kept the family together by working in the factory when the economy was good. You know, this is like the '70s and when the economy wasn't good, she would get laid off and so I, you know, I know what that felt like to some of the conversations around the dinner table about, you know, whether our gas might be cut off or, you know, how the bills were going to get paid. So when I became a journalist, I gravitated to those kinds of stories of what I call outsiders and underdogs. I didn't, like, intentionally gravitate to them but after about 15 years, it hit me that, you know, those were the stories I wrote the best.

DAVIES: Now, the man at the center of this story, John Bassett III, is a descendent of a long established family of Virginia and North Carolina furniture makers - that is to say factories that made furniture's. Tell us a little bit about the Bassett company - kind of what it made him - what kind of relationship it had with its employees over the decades.

MACY: Sure. It began in 1902. It was started by John D. Bassett Sr. and they came out of the Civil War sort of cash poor and land rich. He was a very kind of wily saw-miller. He had a lot of land, a lot of trees on the land. And he decided when he heard the railroad was coming through Henry County, that he would open a sawmill so he could sell the railroad the ties for the land. And he built a little store and had a boarding house where the railroad workers could stay and buy their food and whatnot. I mean, he was always kind of one step ahead and as, you know, the railroad was built, he realized that hey - why are we sending all of our lumber up to the furniture companies in New York and Michigan? I think we could do that ourselves. And actually he and his wife were on a buying trip in, you know, 1900 - the family lore is that it was actually his wife Miss Pokey's idea to kind of poke around and see how the factory there was organized and come back and try to do that in their own front yard. And as it turned out, they built a factory in their front yard.

DAVIES: Right, Miss Pokey - short for Pocahontas - which was her name. And so he runs the factory for decades and there are other factories and they are run by descendants of this family for decades. And there's the town of Bassett. What was its relationship with the company?

MACY: Right. The town of Bassett was never incorporated. So it's a classic company town, built to support the company. I mean, they had to bring workers in from the countryside to work in the factories and they had to provide housing - so they built houses. The rent was deducted from their paychecks. And, you know, there wasn't a town Council - there was Bassett Furniture industries. And you actually paid your power bill up until the '70s, I think it was, at Bassett Furniture industries. The company ran everything.

{snip}

Beth Macy

Education: BS Journalism, MA Creative writing
Alma mater: Bowling Green State University, Hollins University
Notable works: Factory Man, Truevine, Dopesick
Notable awards: J. Anthony Lukas Prize for Works in Progress (Factory Man) , Finalist - Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction (Factory Man, Dopesick)

Website: intrepidpapergirl.com

Beth Macy is an American journalist and non-fiction writer. Her first published book, Factory Man, was a national bestseller.

Early life

Macy grew up in Urbana, Ohio. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University in 1986. She earned a master's degree in creative writing from Hollins University in 1993.

Career

Macy was a reporter for The Roanoke Times from 1989 to 2014. She writes essays and op-eds for The New York Times as well as magazines, radio and online journals. In 2010, she was awarded the Nieman Fellowship for Journalism by Harvard University.

Her 2018 book, Dopesick, was shortlisted for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Works

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town (2014, Little Brown & Co., ISBN 9780316231435, OCLC 1003808101)
Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South (2016, Little, Brown & Co., ISBN 9780316337540, OCLC 971462415)
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America (2018, Little, Brown & Co., ISBN 9780316551243, OCLC 1043454094)

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 11:28 AM

7. I got beautifully made bedroom furniture set made in high point NC in 1994

It’s held up well and most of my other Chinese made furniture has had to be replaced.

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 07:19 AM

5. Thank you, Trump.

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Response to riversedge (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 02:52 PM

9. production costs are lower in Europe? How can that be?

They're socialist hells over there. Everybody knows that socialist countries can't compete in world markets. They pay people too much and have socialized medicine!

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 02:07 PM

13. For one thing, the Swedish employers don't pay their workers' insurance for them

In the US we see it as a "benefit" but it really isn't a benefit. Swedish employees pay their own medical insurance through taxes withheld from their paycheck. I believe that's true in most European countries. I don't know if that's the reason IKEA is shutting down though. Maybe something to do with Chump's misguided tariffs?

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