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Why Did Lane Furniture Close Down?

By Jeff Frank

Question:

I ordered some Lane Furniture about 3 months ago. Today, the store called to say that Lane closed down and I will not be getting the furniture I ordered. What is really going on?

Answer:

Lane Furniture is gone!

Lane shut down, without warning, 3 days before Thanksgiving.

Lane is the brand name for United Furniture, one of the 10 largest U.S. furniture manufacturers.

A few minutes before midnight, on Nov. 21, the following message was sent out by text and email to the company’s 2700 employees:

Over-the-road drivers that are out on delivery will be paid for the balance of the week.

Whether or not you have completed your delivery, please immediately return equipment, inventory, and delivery documents for those deliveries that have been completed to one of the following locations: Winston-Salem, N.C., Verona, Miss., or Victorville, Calif. location.

To be clear, do not complete any additional deliveries. We regret that this difficult and unexpected situation has made this necessary.

Additional information will be provided shortly. Thank you for your service and dedication.

UFI/Lane Corporate Communications”

Many employees did not get the text or email and showed up at work the next morning to find the doors locked.

Furniture shipments that were on their way to furniture stores and warehouses, were turned around and returned to Lane warehouses.

This is what happened to your furniture.

As of now, 3 weeks after the Lane’s shutdown, the situation is still a complete mess.

According to a Mississippi attorney, hired by several of the workers, the abrupt firing violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification Act (WARN.)

WARN is supposed to give workers prior notice before mass terminations.

Lane’s workforce is not alone in being impacted by the shutdown.

Unpaid suppliers, that depended on Lane’s business, are also closing their doors.

North Carolina frame makers have laid off employees.

A 22 ton copper shipment that had been on a Lane truck was diverted to a Lane warehouse, rather than the buyer’s destination.

If the copper does not reach its proper destination promptly, it could halt manufacturing for the purchaser.

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