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North Carolina furniture maker hailed as US job creator closed

LINCOLNTON (AP) — A start-up North Carolina furniture company so celebrated as a sign of America’s manufacturing rebound its head was President Obama’s White House guest at last year’s state of the union address has closed suddenly.

Lincolnton Furniture Company was silent Friday, a day after shutting down following a year of operation. President Bruce Cochrane and other company officers did not return messages to The Associated Press on Friday.

Manufacturing operations stopped indefinitely because orders were insufficient, company financial officer Ben Causey said.

“We needed more orders is really what it boiled down to,” Causey told The Charlotte Observer. “We thought they would materialize.”

Cochrane told WSOC-TV the company burned through its capital sooner than expected, in part because the cost of preparing the factory building was higher than projected.

Lincolnton Furniture opened its doors in December 2011 with 60 employees and expected to grow to 130 workers by the end of 2012.

Cochrane started the maker of bed frames, dining sets, and other wood furniture in the hometown where his family built furniture since the 1850s. He launched his idea to make furniture in the U.S. after working as an industry consultant in China. His attempt to restore American jobs in an industry that had long flooded to low-cost Asian countries was highlighted as a sign of “re-shoring,” or companies returning to the U.S. jobs that had once moved overseas.

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