Furniture maker closing Lenoir City plant

By Michael Silence
One of East Tennessee’s larger employers, Berkline/Benchcraft LLC., is closing it’s Loudon County plant and laying off 40 workers.

A notice filed with the state department of Labor and Workforce Development said the layoffs and closure are effective April 30.

The company, one of East Tennessee’s leading furniture manufacturers, last year said it was moving 150 jobs to Mississippi in order to consolidate leather and fabric-cutting jobs.

Those jobs came from operations in Hamblen County. Berkline employs about 1,400 people in the Morristown area. A company official at the time attributed consolidation efforts to a slumping furniture industry.