Mississippi’s furniture industry is making a comeback and it’s kicking off in North Mississippi.
Around the year 2000 there was movement in manufacturing industries to find labor. The U.S. as a whole, saw a shift in labor going to countries like China and other parts of the world. However, Bill Martin with the Franklin Furniture Institute said that over the last three years it has been steadily coming back, especially most recently for Mississippi.
“The cost of doing business overseas is continually rising and so there are different opportunities that you can find domestically when you look at the total cost of ownership of a product,” said Martin.
Martin said what Mississippi offers in it’s furniture industry is competitive with the rest of the world.
“As you well know, we are a ‘want it now society’ and when you have a six to nine month wait time to get product over it’s kind of hard to satisfy your customer,” said Martin.
Martin said that the entire dynamic of buying in the state has shifted since people know that there is a faster way to achieve their goal. And for people looking to buy local the Franklin Furniture Institute provides a catalog of Mississippi manufacturers whose products are “home-made.”
“We have here at the Institute a ‘Made in Mississippi’ catalog. We worked with the MDA overseas and worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce offices where if you want to buy a U.S. or Mississippi made product you can go to the website and it will take you directly to that companies website,” said Martin.
The Franklin Furiniture Institute, a program part of Mississippi State University, is an outreach unit to help sustain the furniture industry in Mississippi to keep in in the state.
These specialists come to the rescue when a company has an issue like developing a website, testing furniture, or giving a production flow analysis. They put out a memo through the University and find someone to fix your problem.
“The best way to put it is like the Ghostbusters movie, if you’ve got a problem and need someone to solve it, who you ‘gonna call, you’re ‘gonna call the Franklin Furniture Institute,” said Martin.