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La-Z-Boy South Plant Celebrates 50 Years

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On June 16, the City of Newton announced that it will gather to celebrate a five-decade contribution that has affected millions of Americans.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the people of Newton, a legacy of comfort lives on in living rooms across the country, allowing Americans to relax and recline in La-Z-Boy furniture.
La-Z-Boy South, the manufacturing plant located in Newton, Miss., will celebrate 50 years of production on June 16.  La-Z-Boy local employees and company leadership will be joined by Newton Mayor David Carr and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, as well as members of the Newton community, to honor the plant’s long and esteemed history of producing La-Z-Boy furniture.
“Congratulations to La-Z-Boy South and all of its employees for a very successful half-century of production,” said Kurt Darrow, CEO of La-Z-Boy.  “Without question, La-Z-Boy would not be as successful if not for the hard work and talent of the Newton employees.  These men and women should be proud of their role in the La-Z-Boy family.”
“This celebration is a very proud moment for La-Z-Boy South employees as well as the City of Newton,” said Don Mather, plant manager of La-Z-Boy South.  “As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of producing our first recliner, we remember the many ways we’ve influenced our town, the company and the nation.  This plant’s presence has created stability and opportunity for our city’s economy, and we are honored to be a piece of the La-Z-Boy success story.”
The History of the Newton Plant:

La-Z-Boy came to Newton in 1960 when the company’s founders, Edwin Shoemaker and
Ed Knabusch, were looking to expand the business.  Newton was a small, comfortable town with friendly people and easy access to raw materials, a perfect fit for La-Z-Boy.  The first recliner was produced on June 6, 1960 – the La-Z-Boy Rocker was later raffled off at a local supermarket opening.
The plant officially opened in November 1960 with 60,000 square feet devoted to upholstery and assembly.  Shortly after opening, La-Z-Boy experienced the biggest success to-date with the launch of the “Reclina-Rocker” after it was introduced at the Chicago Market in 1961.  After meeting demand for these orders, Newton graduated from upholstery and assembly to become a completely self-supporting manufacturing facility.  With a modest number of employees, they produced several La-Z-Boy styles.
Celebrating many production milestones over the years, Newton produced its three-millionth chair on December 9, 1980.  And as the company grew and orders increased, La-Z-Boy South produced its 10-millionth chair a short 23 years later. After many expansions – including a leather-cutting center, dimension plant, metal supply center, and poly department – the plant remains an integral part of the La-Z-Boy manufacturing process.  Now employing 600 Newton-area residents, La-Z-Boy South produces over one hundred different styles and custom-builds 1,100 pieces of furniture every day.    
Honoring the Newton Community:

Over the years many area residents have been a part of the La-Z-Boy South history.  From manufacturing to shipping to management, the plant has had a major impact on the local economy, while helping to increase the La-Z-Boy business all across the country.
“Skilled American craftsmen, like those at our La-Z-Boy South plant, give La-Z-Boy a competitive edge – they assemble our famously comfortable furniture from the ground up, one piece at a time, through a process called cellular manufacturing, which is a team-based production process.  This plant makes it possible for us to deliver customized furniture to our customers quickly,” said Mather.
At the anniversary celebration, La-Z-Boy will honor all employees past and present, as well as 10 La-Z-Boy South employees who have been with the plant for 40 or more years – a testament to Newton’s commitment to the La-Z-Boy brand.
“Not only does La-Z-Boy South give back to the Newton community by employing many of the residents, we also contribute to many local businesses and organizations,” said Mather.  “We do our best to make La-Z-Boy a part of local life here.  Over the years, the plant has made contributions to several charities, including local fire departments, schools, youth programs, United Givers and Ronald McDonald House Charities,® of which La-Z-Boy corporate is the official furniture provider.”
“La-Z-Boy South remains an important part of the La-Z-Boy business,” said Darrow.  “At La-Z-Boy, we are extremely proud of our roots and honor our reputation in American culture as an ‘icon’ of comfort and quality.”
A Comfort Celebration:

La-Z-Boy invites the public to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of La-Z-Boy South on June 16 at 1 p.m., at the La-Z-Boy South plant at 133 Scanlan Street in Newton.  The company will be celebrating five decades of comfort throughout the county in numerous ways, including a ceremony with Newton and La-Z-Boy dignitaries and the unveiling of a La-Z-Boy recliner sculpture to the City of Newton, which will later be placed in Knabusch Park.    
About La-Z-Boy:

Headquartered in Monroe, Mich., La-Z-Boy is one of the world’s leading residential furniture producers.  The company manufactures a full line of comfortable products for the living room and family room, including the company’s world-famous recliners, reclining sofas and love seats, sleep sofas, modular furniture and leather upholstery, as well as stationary sofas, love seats and chairs.  It is a division of La-Z-Boy Incorporated (NYSE: LZB), one of the world’s leading residential furniture producers, marketing furniture for every room of the home.

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