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Ashley Furniture distribution center bringing 161 jobs to Four Oaks

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FOUR OAKS — Ashley Furniture HomeStore announced Tuesday that it and two partners will be setting up a new distribution center, outlet store, retail store, call center and learning center on its 30-acre campus outside Four Oaks — a development that is slated to bring 161 new jobs to the area.

The furniture manufacturer along with its partner companies, Broad River Retail LLC, which is a licensee for Ashley HomeStore, and The Keith Corp., announced the construction of the $15 million campus adjacent to Interstate 95 on Brewer Road.

N.C. Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland made the announcement as area dignitaries and company officials gathered at the construction site while temperatures tickled the upper 90s mark on the thermometer.

"This campus represents a major expansion for the company and a vote of confidence for your community," Copeland said, speaking on behalf of Gov. Roy Cooper, who was unable to attend due to health reasons.

 "Why is Broad River making this decision? That was already answered," Copeland said, "Because you've got the workforce and the confidence of the government that is going to be part of this project and work with you."

Broad River Retail President and CEO executive Charlie Malouf said the facility is the latest major investment for his company in the Southeast. Broad River Retail is a privately held company that employs more than 540 employees and sells furniture, mattresses and home accessories and is headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

This will be the first such facility for Broad River in North Carolina.

"We're willing to put our bets on the people of Broad River, on the town of Four Oaks, on Johnston County, on the state of North Carolina, we're placing long-term bets," Malouf said. "We love that Raleigh is called the City of Oaks, we love that this is the town of Four Oaks. We like to say from the tiniest acorn grows the mightiest oak. Today is about planting seeds about a very bright future."

The new jobs created by the 182,300 square-foot distribution center will bring more than $6.8 million to the local economy. The center will support company operations primarily in eastern North Carolina as well as parts of South Carolina and southern Virginia.

Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker said the project not only marks a new business in the area, it also brings a new partner to the town.

"We wanted a partner," Parker said. "We wanted somebody that would work with us to build a synergy that would enable us to grow and create jobs and opportunity so our children would not have to leave our community once they received their education."

When it came to the number of new jobs the facility will ultimately create, Parker said the facility will bring security to those who will fill those jobs.

"It is important that everybody knows that the most important thing there is outside of your faith and your family, is a paycheck on Friday," Parker said. "Because if you have a paycheck on Friday you can do some of what you want to. If you don't have a paycheck on Friday, it's kind of hard to do what you want to. And that's what this is about jobs. It's also about a synergy and a need."

No timetable for the project's completion was available at press time.