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Sources: Ashley Furniture to announce plant opening in Davie Co.

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DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. -- Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to announce Friday that Ashley Furniture will open a new manufacturing and distribution center in Davie County, sources told FOX8 Thursday.

Davie County officials confirm there will be a news conference about a "major economic announcement" at 1 p.m. at the High Point Furniture Market.

Neither Ashley Furniture nor state officials would give further details about the announcement, and county manager Beth Dirks said only that the news is going to be great.

Sources said the the company is expected to bring 500 to 1,000 jobs. The job growth would come in phases and be added over the next five years, sources said.

County officials said last summer that an unnamed major manufacturer was interested in a 350-acre site off Biltmore Road in the eastern part of the county. The land includes a facility that was once a tobacco drying and storage plant for RJ Reynolds Tobacco.

The jobs would make Ashley Furniture one of the county's largest employers.

The county has lost more than 1,000 furniture jobs over the last decade. Crowd Wood Products, which made TV cabinets for RCA, cut 750 jobs. Drexel Heritage, closed a bedroom furniture operation, cut 350 jobs. Baker Furniture laid off 250 people when it closed a case goods and upholstery plant.