June 16, 2022
Corsicana Mattress closing LaPorte plant meant to employ up to 350 just months after opening
- Joseph S. Pete
- May 25, 2022 Updated May 25, 2022
One of the most hyped recent economic development projects in Northwest Indiana has met a sudden, swift and unexpected end.
Texas-based Corsicana Mattress Co. recently opened a new $8.6 million bed-in-a-box factory that would have employed up to 350 workers in LaPorte and was described as “one of this year’s most exciting announcements.” The company took over an abandoned warehouse where it planned to make 1,500 boxed-bed mattresses a day to allow for same-day shipping nationwide.
A ribbon-cutting celebration just took place in March.
But employees were told this week Corsicana was closing two plants, including the newly opened factory at the Midwest Manufacturing Supercenter at 755 South 500 West in LaPorte.
“This is upsetting news, that’s for sure,” LaPorte County Commissioner Shelia Brillson Matias posted on social media. “Sad news that employees were told yesterday that Corsicana LaPorte would be closing and from what we are hearing, this is one of two plants being closed in the U.S. due to loss of demand, high material costs and difficulty finding employees.”
She said the community needs to help displaced workers “find good family-wage jobs.”
Matias also noted no public money has been lost or put at risk.
“On the positive side, this long-vacant 180,000 square-foot facility — empty and dilapidated for 20-plus years — has been updated, modernized and is ready for another manufacturer to set up shop.”
Matias, LaPorte County Council President Randy Novak and Economic Development Director Tony Rodriguez talked to the Corsicana CEO on the phone.
Corsicana is reconsidering its industry footprint after acquiring rival Symbol Mattress of Virginia in April in a deal that creates the nation’s largest manufacturer of mattresses under $1,000. The merged companies planned to employ 1,300 at 16 manufacturing sites nationwide.
“While sharing my concerns, the conversation was detailed regarding their current business outlook and focused on the industry-specific facts that have negatively affected this plant. Corsicana LaPorte is impacted by the recent sale of the entire company, a corporate reorganization, and reduced consumer spending,” Matias posted. “The CEO had great things to say about our workforce; it’s clear we cannot change their business-driven decision but we now need to focus on these employees. We will work on helping these folks to find good jobs here in LaPorte County.”
Corsicana and the public relations firm it commissioned to help promote the ribbon-cutting did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. The company had hired only about 45 workers, Rodriguez said.
“While it was a highly unfortunate decision, it’s just fortunate it happened in this economic environment where almost all of the advanced manufacturing employees who were displaced will be able to find work as quickly as possible,” he said. “Our key going forward is to see that they are treated as appropriately as possible. We’re still in discussions with the company and the specifics and possible consideration of future investment.”
LaPorte County also will be able to market the recently renovated property to other companies at a time when such inventory is in short supply, Rodriguez said.
“It’s a 180,000-square-foot modern manufacturing facility that’s been fully renovated and could become available on the market soon,” he said. “We’ll look to find a new business ASAP, which shouldn’t be hard in this market. Manufacturers are seeking to make investments, which bodes well for the remarketing of that property. COVID has ignited an investment boom in American manufacturing as a result of the supply chain issues, and that bodes extremely well for the future of that property.”
Corsicana also has a 100,000 square-foot flat-packed mattress factory in Aurora.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. gave Corsicana $2.3 million in conditional tax breaks for the LaPorte factory in exchange for the job creation and investment. The tax breaks were structured to be contingent on hiring and continued employment, so the company would not reap the benefits if it falls short of its employment goals.
Corsicana Mattress was founded in 1971 and is now one of the largest U.S. manufacturers in the mattress industry. It makes memory foam, innerspring and hybrid mattresses, such as the NightsBridge, Early Bird, Renue, American Bedding and Sleep Inc. brand names.