Furniture factory closes, laying off 75

Published 1:09 am Sunday, November 22, 2009

The last whistle has sounded for about 75 employees at a longtime anchor of Columbia’s business community, Orleans Furniture Inc.

After 57 years, the company shut down its domestic production department that had made bedroom suites, curio cabinets and entertainment centers on Friday.

Ed Marshall, Orleans chief executive officer and president, says the furniture industry in the United States has really been suffering the past two years or so, forcing the closing.

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The company’s import furniture line, Magnolia Classic, will remain operational, employing about 20 to 25 people.

Orleans Furniture started in 1895 in New Orleans as the New Orleans Furniture Company, producers of solid wood case goods. Eventually, the company set up branches in Memphis, Tenn.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Guthrie, Okla., before reconsolidating and moving its production operations to Columbia in 1952.