Weather forces delay of onsite visit at Harden

Published Feb 5, 2018 at 4:00pm

McCONNELLSVILLE — The onsite visit by the new owner of Harden Furniture has been put off for at least a day, which means there will be a delay in learning whether the company will resume production.

Big Shoulders Capital, a specialty lender based in Illinois, was the winner of last week’s auction of Harden’s assets. Operations then ceased while the lender assessed its options: keep the company as a going concern or sell off the equipment, machinery and inventory.

Representatives of Big Shoulders were expected to tour the furniture maker today, but that visit has now been put off until at least Tuesday, Harden CEO Gregory Harden said this morning in an email.

A final decision on the 174-year-old company’s fate, and the jobs of 172 workers, was expected to be announced following the inspection.

Harden said the visit was delayed due to weather.

Big Shoulders was the only bidder.

In the meantime, the plant’s Jan. 31 closure has been reported to the state Labor Department, as required. The company is one of the oldest furniture manufacturers in the country.

The company was purchased by Miramar Capital in 2016, but CEO Greg Harden, a fifth-generation family member to run the business, remained a minority stakeholder. He owns the buildings and real estate. Miramar owns the brand name.

Miramar’s investment in Harden was financed through an asset-backed loan from Gemcap Solutions. When Harden defaulted on the loan, Gemstone forced the auction that resulted in the winning bid from Big Shoulders.