Clarke Gets Good News

By: Tyler Helms
By: Tyler Helms

The building that once housed Burlington Industries in Stonewall, Miss., has been vacant for nearly a year and now it is about to re-open with a new name.

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors announced that the building has been purchased by the Mississippi-based apparel and furniture maker, Warmcraft Incorporated.

"For it to be sold, that's good news for Clarke County. We've been working with this company for a long time. We've talked to them. They've been out here," said board president Tony Fleming. "It's been a long drawn out process. Economic development doesn't happen overnight."

Since Burlington filed bankruptcy in 2002, the 518,000 square foot building has remained idle, a sad reminder of the 800 people it left unemployed.

"We've got a good labor force here in Clarke that can go to work in that building," Fleming said.

The Burlington purchase wasn't the only good news. The board of supervisors announced that the Griffco Corporation will be re-opening after it closed just last year.

"Margins got really bad focus, as well as everybody in this industry," said Charles Griffin. "We made the decision to shut it down. We are cautiously optimistic that things have made a turn. We're ready to give it a shot."

After both closings, Clarke County had one of the highest jobless rates in the state at nearly 18 percent. Now at 7 percent, it's predicted to only get better.

Expected to open in the next few days, Griffco will employ more than 100 workers.

No numbers have been released from Warmcraft, which is expected to open in mid 2004. However, it could possibly employ more than 800 people. That would be 900 jobs Clarke County would welcome.


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