AG: Norwalk Furniture non-compliant

Business one of many in state that received taxpayer assistance.
Melissa Topey
Dec 20, 2013
About 55 percent of companies that received economic development assistance last year from Ohio’s taxpayer-funded initiatives did not meet the job-creation promises they made, according to an Ohio Attorney General’s report released Thursday.

Of 266 companies that received grants, tax credits and other monies, 120 did not comply with the program’s requirements, according to the report.

One of the non-compliant businesses: Norwalk Furniture.

State attorneys found Norwalk Furniture had committed to creating 260 jobs by the end of 2012, in exchange for a 55 percent, six-year tax credit.

The company added only 145 jobs. As a result, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority decided to reduce the tax credit to 50 percent for tax year 2014, the final year of the credit. The agency also forgave Norwalk Furniture from having to create the additional 115 jobs.

Norwalk Furniture’s tax agreement started in 2009 to help the company re-establish operations at the plant after it filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors in 2008.

The company has earned about $200,000 in tax breaks for the 145 jobs it did create, said Lyn Tolan, spokeswoman for Development Services Agency.

“This is a good company dealing with things out of their control, such as the housing market downturn that impacted furniture sales” Tolan said.

Norwalk Furniture has still been something of a success story. The company refused to die, coming roaring back to life with employees and investors reopening the business.

“They came back — 145 jobs is nothing to sneeze at” Tolan said.

Still, the company did not meet the projected job development. As such, the agency had to lower the tax credit percentage slightly, Tolan said.

The Attorney General’s office receives the contracts from the state’s Development Services Agency, and attorneys review them to make sure the agreements are being met, said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office. They then notify the agency as to whether or not the company met the terms. The Development Services Agency then decides if any action is needed.

Representatives at Norwalk Furniture did not return multiple messages seeking comment.

Comments

Contango

Re: "did not meet the job-creation promises they made,"

A gross misuse of taxpayer funds.

So is it businesses' societal duty to hire as many people as possible regardless of market conditions, become unprofitable and ultimately file for Chpt. 7 bankruptcy?

Pterocarya frax...

"A gross misuse of taxpayer funds."

Sounds like most of what Jobs Ohio does.

deertracker

It's their "duty" to do what they promised to do in order to receive taxpayer assistance. Comprende?

Contango

Re: "do what they promised to do,"

Back to my POINT: So 'regardless' of market conditions they should hire people?

And these new unneeded employees should do what?

Difficult for a business to project sales even one yr. out, especially with the IDIOTS in DC changing the (bleepin') tax laws and regs almost daily.

deertracker

You have NO point pooh. If they take the taxpayer's money they have to play by the rules. They could have chosen NOT to take the help. They had to be aware of market conditions. It is not hard to project sales. Actually, it is relatively simple and you can always adjust accordingly. Please elaborate about these daily changes to the tax laws and regulations. Enlighten us all!

Contango

Re: "It is not hard to project sales."

So, as a self-proclaimed business expert, when are you starting Bambie, Inc., hiring thousands of employees and paying top wages and rich benefits?

deertracker

Next week!

2sense

My crystal ball is broke.

Pioneer Trail Pimp

Better than your balls being blue.

Kingsin

Contango, I am a former employee of Norwalk F. and still have many friends there. From my understanding Norwalk is just chugging along on a weekly basis- not growing and not falling back. In my opinion any business which simply seeks to maintain a set amount of orders will eventually end up on the trash heap. I know that they are producing a far better quality piece than when I was there, but in this day and age with so much competition, I doubt that that alone is enough to keep them viable. Many of their former dealers have already moved on to other suppliers and refuse to give N. another chance because of being burned. Norwalk needs to completely re-invent itself and possibly even retire the brand, even with its hundred year history.

Contango

Sorry to read that.

I was born and raised in Norwalk. I never worked for Furniture, but had many family and friends who did.

Yrs. ago we had a Norwalk living rm. set that we bought at Fisher's Wayside.

vicariouslyAlive

Its pretty close to instant karma since they've been "letting people go" pretty consistently for the last couple of months now... I wonder how close they were to the necessary bench mark of job creation before they started cutting people.

But then again, depending on how "slight" the tax adjust ment is, it would benefit them to toss people out and take the tax cut hit on the chin. As if they knew it was coming and had to recoupe losses.

Pterocarya frax...

When I was looking for a new sofa last winter, I went specifically to Herman's in Sandusky, and another place in Westlake that were listed as dealers for Norwalk Furniture. I wanted to support a local manufacturer, but all their stuff looked like the same styles they were selling in the 80's. The build quality was very good, but the comfort, fabric choices, and styling were awful. I had to go a different direction in spite of my desire to buy local. I bet I am not alone.

Kingsin

Ptero, I can't speak to their latest style choices, it's been a long time since I've looked at their catalog. I was building their furniture in the eighties and what I saw was nice- but behind the design curve. Norwalk, just like many furniture manufacturers copy styles and fabric choices depending on trends (either at market or on others' showroom floors). By the time it went through product development it was nearly outdated already. I knew of only a few original styles Norwalk ever produced on its own (someone with better knowledge may be able to refute that, I'm just stating what I believe to be true). I think they have done better since as they began striking deals and aligning themselves with major name decorators. I wish them the best, a lot of people still counting on them for their livelihood.

kURTje

No Ptero you are not alone.

Stop It

Get to the real nitty gritty and see who actually owns Norwalk Furniture. They ain't hurtin' for any $$$. They also own another multimillion dollar place of bizness.