The steel frame of the Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery expansion is taking shape on Sam T. Barkley Drive in New Albany.
Rusty Berryhill, president of Kevin Charles, said Wednesday that the $2.5 million expansion project should be completed by mid-November.
It is a major expansion for the New Albany furniture manufacturer and will double the size of its facility. Once the expansion is complete, Kevin Charles will be around 126,000 square feet.
The company currently employs 88 people, and 22 jobs have already been added since the expansion began. Once the expansion is complete, another 18 jobs are expected to be added, for a total of 40 new employees.
The company started in New Albany 17 years ago and primarily manufactures furniture for Florida- based City Furniture. Kevin Charles makes sofas, love seats, chairs, sleepers, ottomans and accent chairs.
Kevin Charles ships about 12 to 14 loads of furniture per week to South Florida and also does some business in Oklahoma and Texas.
Eventually, the plan is for 50 percent of the expansion area to be used as warehouse space and the other half for manufacturing.
Berryhill said the time was right for Kevin Charles to expand, especially since its business partner, City Furniture, is seeing growth. Moreover, Kevin Charles has the opportunity to open up other accounts across the nation, Berryhill noted.
American-made products are becoming more sought after as tariff unrest continues, he added.
“We are American made,” said Berryhill.
The company's furniture is manufactured right here in New Albany, and 85 percent of the fabrics used by Kevin Charles are made in the United States.
The company is fortunate to have great employees who produce high quality products, he noted.
“We're not anything without our associates,” Berryhill said.
The employees make Kevin Charles a special place, he said, adding, “We strive every day to build a good quality product.”
Cooperation from state and local leaders has also played a part in the company's success, Berryhill said. Some of the important players he pointed out include the city of New Albany, the Union County Board of Supervisors, the Union County Development Association, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Steel-Con Inc is the contractor over the Kevin Charles Expansion.