Newton Celebrates 50 Years Providing Comfortable Furniture For America

La-Z-Boy South Plant Commemorates Past, Looks to Future of Furniture Production in Newton

MONROE, Mich. (June 28, 2010) – On June 16 the City of Newton gathered 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 comfortable furniture lives on in living rooms across the country, allowing Americans to relax and recline in La-Z-Boy furniture.

La-Z-Boy South, the furniture manufacturing plant located in Newton, Miss., celebrated 50 years of production on June 16. La-Z-Boy local employees and company leadership joined 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.”

Darrow took time during the ceremony to honor 10 employees with 40 or more years of service to the La-Z-Boy South plant saying, “I’d like to recognize these employees as they personify our spirit and commitment to providing comfort worldwide. They have contributed greatly to the La-Z-Boy reputation in American culture, ensuring that our brand remains an icon of comfort and quality.”

“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.”

During the ceremony, La-Z-Boy South unveiled a large-scale replica of the first La-Z-Boy recliner. The recliner sculpture is a gift to the City of Newton and will be placed in nearby Knabusch Park.

The History of the Newton Furniture Manufacturing 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 plant officially opened in November 1960 and graduated from upholstery and assembly to become a completely self-supporting manufacturing facility shortly thereafter. 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.

“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.

“It is an honor and privilege to celebrate this truly momentous occasion with the Newton community,” said Darrow.

About La-Z-Boy

Headquartered in Monroe, Mich., La-Z-Boy has been producing some of the world’s most comfortable furniture for over 85 years. 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. "Live Life Comfortably.®"

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