Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture retailer shuts down abruptly

Home furnishings manufacturer and retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is closing its doors after 34 years and has told employees that the North Carolina-based company is ending operations due to a lack of financing.

The company has 27 signature stores including five in Texas in Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Austin and Houston. There’s also an outlet store in San Marcos. The company created virtual stores with local designers in 35 additional markets such as San Antonio and The Woodlands near Houston.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams was purchased by The Stephens Group, a Little Rock, Ark.-based family-owned investment firm in late 2014.

It’s not clear when the stores will close permanently. The company hasn’t responded to a request for information about how the stores will wind down operations.

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Following a big splurge by homeowners during the pandemic, the furniture business is feeling the slump. Another upscale furniture manufacturer, Klaussner, said earlier this month that it was shutting down its Asheboro, N.C.-based operations also due to a lender “unexpectedly” ending its funding.

“Throughout our history, we have been able to help many companies unlock their value and succeed in the marketplace,” said Allie Laborde, principal, business development at Stephens. “While we do everything we can to support our portfolio of companies, how their stories play out are not always fully within our control.”

Stephens has worked closely with the company over the past nine years, Laborde said, and recently invested $20 million to restructure the company and set it up for success.

“Unfortunately, shortly after this restructuring, the company’s lender withdrew its support, forcing Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to cease operations,” Laborde said. “The Stephens Group knows that the company has done the best it could in a very challenging situation and empathizes with all those who are impacted.”

Employees at the plant in Taylorsville, N.C., learned of the abrupt closing on Saturday from signs posted on the truck gate and office door announcing the immediate closing, according to a story in the Taylorsville Times. Two other factories are in Hiddenite and Statesville, N.C. Employees were told to not report to work on Monday. Home office and remote workers were told not to log in.

A separate letter to employees from CEO Chris Moye was also posted on the office doorand said the company “unexpectedly learned” it wasn’t able to secure “critical financing to continue business operations.”

“In the wake of this unfortunate development, the company will sadly need to wind down operations and terminate the employment of our employees beginning on August 26, 2023,” Moye said. “Because these events were unforeseen, we were unable to provide you and others with more notice of this difficult decision.”

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams opened in Plano’s Shops at Willow Bend in 2013 as part of the mall’s plan to revitalize the shopping center by making it a furniture destination. It joined Crate & Barrel, RH (Restoration Hardware) and Z Gallerie.

In June, the retailer opened a separate pop-up store in the mall where it slashed prices by as much as 80%. The store in Dallas on McKinney Avenue just south of Knox Street opened in 2010. A spokeswoman for the Texas Workforce Commission said it hadn’t yet received information about closings.

The company was founded in Taylorsville, N.C., in 1989 by Gold and Williams and supplied home furnishings to other fine furniture stores in addition to operating its own stores. Williams, a graphic artist, was born in Dallas and grew up in Conroe. Gold was a furniture buyer for Bloomingdale’s.

Gold, who retired as chairman and CEO of the company in 2019, told The Washington Post that he learned of the news last week and that he and Williams were “heartbroken.”

X: @MariaHalkias

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