Franklin ranked 17th in U.S. Furniture market

 Franklin Corp. of Houston was recently ranked No. 17 among the key sources for the U.S. furniture market. The upholstered motion furniture company was founded in 1970 by Hassell Franklin, and has grown to become a major employer in Northeast Mississippi. (File Photo)


Franklin Corp. of Houston was recently ranked No. 17 among the key sources for the U.S. furniture market. The upholstered motion furniture company was founded in 1970 by Hassell Franklin, and has grown to become a major employer in Northeast Mississippi. (File Photo)

HOUSTON – Industry trade publication Furniture Today recently released its annual list that ranks the industry’s top retailers and suppliers.

And two Northeast Mississippi companies have landed on that list – the Dufresne-Spencer Group, which owns and manages 19 furniture stores in six states, and Franklin Corp., one of the nation’s largest privately-owned furniture manufacturers.

Franklin Corp. of Houston is ranked No. 17 among the key sources for the U.S. furniture market.

Furniture Today estimates sales for Franklin last year reached $184.3 million, down about 3 percent from a year earlier.

The upholstered motion furniture company was founded in 1970 by Hassell Franklin. The company has grown to become one of the major employers in the area and a leader in the national upholstered furniture manufacturing business.

“We are honored to earn this award and I want to point to the team we have assembled that has made this growth possible,” said Franklin. “We have good workers who put out a quality product and we have a good group of leaders in this organization who serve this company and this community.”

Franklin said the company has assembled a crew of veteran workers, many who have 20- to 30-years with the company.

“I think it is obvious our workers take pride in what they do and it is evident on the showroom floors of furniture stores around this country,” said Franklin. “We build a quality product, quickly and are able to offer it at a fair price. That is the secret to success in the current furniture market.”

Franklin Corp. is among the largest privately held furniture companies in the U.S., and employs more than 1,300 people on its 75-acre campus in Houston.

The Houston plant includes a metal stamping facility, foam fabrication plant, dimension mill, recliner plant, motion sofa plant, logistics company and fully equipped research and development operation. Franklin has sustained double-digit growth nearly every year.

Chairman and CEO, Hassell Franklin, has received the AHFA Distinguished Service Award, the Upholstered Furniture Action Council Industry Service Award and was elected to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame. He has served as lead director of BancorpSouth and on boards including the Mississippi Economic Council, North Mississippi Health Services, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Publishing Co., Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, the Community Development Foundation, and Mississippi State’s Development and Athletic foundations.

He established a $1 million endowment at Mississippi State University for the Franklin Furniture Institute, a research and training center benefiting the furniture industry.

The Dufresne-Spencer Group, which got its start as the Spencer Group in Saltillo, is now No. 59 on the list of the top 100 furniture retailers (in terms of sales) in the country. Headed by Jim Spencer, the Spencer Group got its start in 2002. It first made the Top 100 list in 2009 at No. 88, with 2008 sales of $61.1 million. A year later, it moved up to No. 74.

This year, the company reached its rank based on sales of $98 million for 2012.

The Spencer Group entered a partnership with Canada-based Dufresne last year, which has paid dividends. DSG has more than doubled the number of stores it had from just four years ago. It now owns 19 furniture stores – including 14 Ashley-branded stores – in Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It recently acquired seven stores in Kentucky and Indiana.

For 2013, it expects sales of about $125 million, which will move it up the Top 100 list even faster, likely putting it in the top 50. With the growth it’s been experiencing, DSG could reach sales of $250 million in 2014, company president Chad Spencer said. That would put it in the top 25.

The only other Mississippi company in the most recent Top 100 is Miskelly Furniture in Jackson, at No. 92 with $48.1 million in sales last year.

Ashley Furniture HomeStores is the top furniture retailer in the nation, with $2.94 billion in sales. They were followed by Ikea ($2.5 billion), Williams-Sonoma ($1.96 billion) and Rooms To Go ($1.61 billion)

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