Flexsteel, a company that has been manufacturing furniture at a Riverside factory for at least four decades, has ceased its operations there and will officially lay off 87 workers in mid-July.
The Dubuque, Iowa-based company announced the closure in a press release on May 15. It is part of a restructuring that will include eliminating the production of furniture for commercial customers and the hospitality industry, which was generating only 7% of Flexsteel’s revenue.
The company also said it plans to get a one-time revenue boost by selling its Central Avenue factory on Riverside’s west side.
“We are taking advantage of a window to take excess capacity offline within our network, generate cost savings through fixed overhead reduction and position the company to monetize a real estate asset we believe has significant value,” the company stated in the press release.
In reporting the closure to the California Employment Development Department, Flexsteel said 69 employees were being terminated on May 15, with 18 people remaining for up to two months to wind down operations. Terminated workers will receive their base earnings and benefits through July 15, in compliance with state laws on layoff notifications.
Flexsteel said it would transfer 40 employees who had worked in the company’s transportation, logistics, customer service and sewing departments to a facility it operates on Sierra Ridge in Riverside, near March Air Reserve Base.
Phil Pitchford, a spokesman for the city of Riverside, confirmed that the Sierra Ridge location is a distribution operation. He said city officials did not know the nature of the work there or if the workers there would receive salaries that were on par with the factory’s pay level.
Pitchford added that the city’s economic development personnel are working with other agencies, including the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, to help displaced workers find new employment.
In its May 15 statement, Flexsteel, a 126-year-old company, did not specifically say that the Riverside factory manufactured the items the company would no longer be producing, or why that facility is the one being closed. According to its website, it has facilities in five other states, and it opened a new plant in its home base of Dubuque last year.
The company did not reply to requests for comment.
Flexsteel has been a member of the Riverside Chambers of Commerce since 1978, according to Bethany Wiekamp, the organization’s communications manager.
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