Kelly’s Kids announces distribution center will remain in Natchez

Published 12:12am Thursday, September 12, 2013

NATCHEZ — Children’s clothing company Kelly’s Kids will maintain its distribution center and 20 of its 40 employees in Natchez, a change from plans announced earlier this year to move the entire business.

The corporate offices will still relocate to Austin, Texas, company officials said Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer Ashton James said the distribution center includes returns/exchanges, monogramming and shipping departments.

“The distribution center is one of the core strengths of our business,” James said. “Many of our distribution employees have been with the company for over a decade, and that knowledge base is very difficult to replace.

“We never miss a beat on that end, and it’s one of our most well-run departments, so we just decided it would make sense to keep that going here in Natchez.”

Approximately 20 employees who will remain in Natchez are distribution center employees.

James said in April that the company’s production facility, which has been located in El Salvador for 10 years, would continue to operate at the same location.

Lynn James — the company’s president and Ashton James’ mother — founded Kelly’s Kids as a cottage industry in 1983 in Waterproof. As the company grew, it moved to Ferriday and at one time had a facility in Jonesville.

It is a specialty children’s clothing company that works through direct sales and distributes its products through a sales representative’s program.

Its offices, warehouse space and an outlet store are currently at 391 Liberty Road.

The fate of the outlet store, James said, is currently still up in the air.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do with the outlet store when we move, but that’s something we’re still discussing,” James said.

James previously said the move to Austin was driven by the need to find a broader employment pool.

“We’re still looking at next April to move our corporate office,” James said. “We’ve honed in on that deadline, and we’re working toward that, but it will be great knowing we’ve let a piece of the company here in Natchez where we have such a great history.

“We think it’s a win-win decision.”