published Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Beaulieu of America closes 3rd plant, will lay off 190

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    Rafael Arreguin operates a tufting machine at a Beaulieu of America plant in Dalton, Ga. Beaulieu of America ships carpet all over the United States and abroad. The company announced the closing of a plant in Eufala, Ala., on Monday. Staff file photo by Danielle Moore
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Carpet cuts

Beaulieu adapts to shrinking residential carpet sales:

10 percent cut from 5,200 Beaulieu employees in August

• Riverbend plant closing in Dalton, Ga., announced in October, affecting 170 jobs

• Closing of Dalton Model Plant in Dalton announced Nov. 4, idling 150 more mill workers

• Closing of yarn processing plant in Eufaula, Ala., announced Monday, cutting another 190 jobs by early 2012

Beaulieu of America announced its third plant closure in as many weeks, as the carpetmaker prepares for another year of depressed demand and a near-dormant housing market.

Those factors, combined with higher raw materials and transportation costs, have forced Beaulieu to lay off all 190 employees at its Eufaula, Ala., yarn processing plant in Southern Alabama, said Ralph Boe, president and CEO of Beaulieu.

The company previously has cut wages by 10 percent, instituted rolling layoffs and closed two plants in Dalton, Ga., to keep its business afloat.

"Due to reduced sales brought on by the economy plus higher materials costs, we made the decision to consolidate the Eufaula yarn processing capacity to our other facilities that are closer to our carpet mills in Dalton," Boe said.

The closure of the plant, which Beaulieu began operating in 1998, reflects the sharp downturn in single-family residential home construction, a downturn that has yet to reverse itself.

Beaulieu had significant exposure to the single-family home market, and was hurt when the economic recovery expected in 2011 failed to take place.

Instead, home starts have continued to decline, and increasing renovations have yet to pick up the slack.

The carpetmaker will help employees find jobs in other plants if they are willing to relocate, Beaulieu said.

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6315.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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