Henkel-Harris may not be dead just yet
Posted: November 17, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The city’s Henkel-Harris furniture plant could survive in some form.
Officials announced Wednesday that they have hired the Charlotte, N.C.-based Stump & Company — which handles mergers and acquisitions, often for privately held furniture companies — to look into ways to preserve the business.
Henkel-Harris employees — as of 2011, the local company had 115 — received a letter Oct. 29 stating that the plant would close Dec. 31.
“We are excited about looking at options for how to continue this wonderful company,” Henkel-Harris President and CEO Bill Henkel said in a press release this week.
Stump & Company President Tim Stump wouldn’t comment specifically on a course for Henkel-Harris, but said his company typically looks for mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.
Keeping the current Henkel-Harris employees “is certainly the goal,” Stump said, but he couldn’t provide a timeline for when the situation might be finalized.
A representative at Henkel-Harris, reached Friday, said the company has no comment beyond the press release.
Launched in 1946, Henkel-Harris — which specializes in reproductions of 18th-century furniture — is a Winchester institution.
Carroll and Mary Henkel established the business with family friend John Harris.
Harris later sold his shares of the company, and when Carroll died in 1969, Mary Henkel took the helm. She died in 2001.
The furniture business has taken a hit the past few years, and Henkel-Harris has been no exception.
A few years ago, before the economic downturn, sales were in the $25 million to $30 million range. In 2011, annual orders totaled about $12 million.
Just five years ago, the factory had 310 workers.
“Our phone has rung off the hook since our [Oct. 29] announcement,” Henkel said in the press release. “And we believe there is a market for our products and our company.”
— Contact Conor Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org