Harden reopens in limited restart

Published Feb 7, 2018 at 12:00pm

McCONNELLSVILLE — Harden Furniture is again open for business although on a limited basis.

A week after operations were suspended following the the sale of assets, Gregory Harden said Tuesday afternoon that the company was reopening. The high-end furniture manufacturer was founded by his family 174 years ago.

“Initially it will be a limited restart with a significant number of recalls. Not full production, but a lot more than a minimal schedule,” he wrote in an email sent to news outlets.

The company had 172 employees a week ago, according to the factory closure notice sent to the state Department of Labor. The workers are not represented by a union.

Harden, which has been making furniture in western Oneida County since 1844, was shuttered Jan. 31 after its assets were sold in a foreclosure auction to Big Shoulders Capital, Northbrook, Ill., for a reported $3 million. The suspension of production and layoff of employees followed immediately

Harden said then it was unclear when, if ever, production, would resume although he expressed hope that the factory would restart making furniture quickly. On Tuesday, he offered an optimistic outlook.

“We continue to have very productive discussions with investors, potential strategic partners, and other parties that hopefully will allow us to complete the restructuring and return to full operations,” he said in his brief message. He promised an update on the situation on Wednesday.

Representatives of Big Shoulders Capital were scheduled to tour the factory on Monday, but did not because of weather.

The asset auction was ordered by Gemcap Solutions, a lender that loaned the money for a leverage buyout of the company by Miramar Capital Partners group in 2016. Greg Harden retained ownership of the buildings and land.

He said the capital structure surrounding the Gemcap financing was not sustainable and the company went into default.

The shutdown left unfilled orders on hold, even ones that were finished and awaiting shipment.

Harden said last week the company had a “healthy backlog” of orders, saying that last month’s orders were almost
double January 2017.