For Immediate Release

 New Furniture Jobs Coming to Burke County

American Hospitality Furnishings Awarded $212,500 Building Reuse Grant

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (May 21, 2015) – American Hospitality Furnishings will move forward with renovating and occupying the former Drexel Heritage Facility located at 410 Hogan Street after closing on the building and receiving a $212,500 Building Reuse Grant from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority. The company committed to 17 new, full-time jobs for the Building Reuse Grant.

The Building Reuse Program is operated by the N.C. Department of Commerce Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). It provides grants and loans to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand a building occupied by an existing North Carolina company, and/or renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that lead to the creation of new, full-time jobs.

“We plan to start manufacturing for upper middle to high-end hotels with the anticipation of having substantial growth over the next two to five years,” said Nick Hart, Owner of American Hospitality Furnishings. “We have plenty of room to expand and hope to hire 100 people over the next two years.”

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, American Hospitality Furnishings (AHF) is a manufacturer of custom furniture for hotel industry clients. A portion of the building was constructed in 1901 and additions were later added. It now totals 166,000 sq. ft. and has been vacant for nine months. AHF will utilize the grant funds to renovate sections of the building including the front entrance and office space.

Hart added, “This has been a vision of mine for many years to bring the hospitality furniture industry back – not to America – but to North Carolina. I have deep roots here and believe it is time to have this renaissance and bring this back to NC. It is the perfect place because there are people with incredible skills and a labor force that is committed and dedicated.”

North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III and Assistance Secretary for Rural Development Dr. Patricia Mitchell announced the grant on April 23.

“This is a great thing for our workforce to get people back to working in that building,” said Morganton City Manager Sally Sandy. “This is a win for the community as well as the company.”

“It is always exciting to see an industry with a long standing heritage in Burke County returning to provide jobs for our citizens,” said Burke County Manager Bryan Steen.

The City of Morganton split the required local match with Burke County.  The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) and Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) assisted with the grant. Duke Energy also supported the project.

“Everyone has been so nice and helpful – the City, County, BDI and the WPCOG,” added AHF Owner Nick Hart. “Without key people like Rob Dunn from Stump Corporation I don’t think this would have happened. They were with me at every turn and were instrumental in helping me over some of the hurdles.”

“It is exciting to see this building be put back to use,” said BDI President and CEO Alan Wood. “We are appreciative of the collaboration on this grant and the support received from the N.C. Department of Commerce. We look forward to American Hospitality Furnishings growing and being a part of our community.”

Representatives from AHF plan to attend the Burke County Job Fair on June 25 to meet with candidates for employment. Interested jobseekers can learn more information about the Job Fair by visiting the “Burke County Mission Transition” Facebook page.

About Burke Development, Inc.

Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

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Contact:

Sara Chester

828.674.3141