Making a Difference: Lexington Homes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Making a Difference: Lexington Homes

What may be expedient for a big corporation headquartered elsewhere, to close a plant, wasn't such a good idea locally. What may be expedient for a big corporation headquartered elsewhere, to close a plant, wasn't such a good idea locally.
They are turning out homes again on the assembly line at Lexington Homes in Lexington. They are turning out homes again on the assembly line at Lexington Homes in Lexington.
A group of investors that ended up being about 15 members strong bought the factory and reopened it, A group of investors that ended up being about 15 members strong bought the factory and reopened it,
LEXINGTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Often times when a factory in an area closes, people just accept the fact and say, "Well, that's that." Well, a group of people didn't do that in Lexington 10 years ago. And what they did when a local big employer closed its doors back then has made a big difference to a lot of people since then.

They are turning out homes again on the assembly line at Lexington Homes in Lexington. This factory was built by Fleetwood Homes in the late 1960s. But by 2000 the demand for manufactured housing had softened enough that Fleetwood decided the Lexington facility was one they could do without. So, they shut it down.

Probably a good decision for the corporate bottom line, but not for Lexington and Holmes County, where the factory was located, which, for over thirty years had been used to the economic boost the plant gave to the area.

"And they locked the gate I would say, late October, mid October of 2000. And it really devastated the county," said Lexington Homes treasurer Matt Riley. "At that time, running two plants, we still had probably close to 400 or maybe a little over employees."

But wheels were turning in some business leaders heads in Holmes County. What may be expedient for a big corporation headquartered elsewhere, to close a plant, wasn't such a good idea locally. Besides, they thought the factory was still a viable business.

"But we always thought this plant could make it with the workforce that was here in Holmes County and the experience they had," Riley added.

So, a group of investors that ended up being about 15 members strong bought the factory and reopened it, and this is the result of that move; people back at work.

Well, this is the most immediate result of that move. There is a ripple effect felt almost immediately 10 years ago when the announcement was made that Lexington Homes was coming on line.

"The first thing we noticed was the excitement of the vendors and the retailers in town, the fact that there was going to be people shopping again, restaurants getting their business again," said Lexington Homes sales manager Gene Rogers.

Lexington Homes has a production force of over a hundred and fifty today. The vast majority of them carried over from Fleetwood.

And it was a group of people locally who didn't accept the closing of a factory as being the end of the world, reopened it, put folks back to work, and righted-side-up-ed a local economy that had been turned upside down by the factory's closing that's made a difference in so many lives.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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