Thomasville Plant Transitions Out of Business
Reporter: Rachel Schaerr l Videographer: Brian Whitesell
Appomattox, VA - One week from Friday, the Thomasville furniture plant will close its doors for good and take about 200 jobs with it. Many of the employees still haven't lined up another job and the future of the massive facility is still in limbo.
One employee, Joyce Almond will leave with exactly 34 years of memories. Her first day of work was April 1, 1977 and the plant is set to close that same day this year.
The plant manager says In the 1980s Thomasville's Appomattox facility was the largest furniture manufacturing plant in the world.
Many people had been holding onto hope that Ashley Furniture or Bush Industries would take over production and spare some jobs, but General Production Manager Bill Gilleland says that's not likely.
"Realistically by the end of June if it's not sold we will auction off the equipment and just sell the building as a real estate transaction," he said.
Gilleland says only about a dozen of its 190 employees found work at a job fair last month. He and other managers have spent months preparing the rest of the workers for the inevitable. They've offered job fairs, job placement training, interviewing skills and resume workshops.
Gary Carter, a supervisor who's spent more than 30 years working at there says no matter what job comes next, everyone should be proud of a job well done.
"I told them when you walk down that sidewalk for the last time just hold your head up high...It's not our fault the way the economy is today."
Gilleland says a few dozen people will remain at the plant until June transitioning the work to other plants. Many employees will have to go to Lynchburg or Farmville to find work.