Southern Designs expanding to former K-Mart building in Natchez

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2021

NATCHEZ — Officials from Southern Designs and Gifts, a home décor manufacturing company in Vidalia, Louisiana, announced Wednesday the company will expand its business into the former K-Mart facility in Natchez, which will house a portion of their manufacturing and shipping operations.

Currently located at 4894 U.S. 84 in Vidalia, the family owned and operated company got its start in 2008 as a small screen-printing business for T-shirts, founder and CEO Tance Hughes said.


It has since grown into a multi-million dollar manufacturing business that produces laser-cut and powder-coated metal décor, laser-cut wood décor and custom-printed items for brands like Metal Unlimited, CutMaps and Carter + Main.

According to a news release from Natchez Inc., the economic development agency for Natchez, Vidalia and Adams County, Southern Designs’ Natchez expansion is a $2.428 million corporate investment and will create 30 jobs.

“We are excited to see Southern Designs continue to grow in our region,” said Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ. “With our business environment changing, we are pleased to see this business stay ahead of the times all while being a business partner for the area.”

Southern Designs and Gifts recently doubled its workforce, prompting the need to expand into a larger facility. Hughes said Southern Gifts and Designs’ existing workforce will operate the company’s locations in Vidalia and Natchez. The company plans to fill the additional 30 jobs by 2023. New job postings are listed online on Southern Designs’ social media pages as they become available.

“This is not a relocation. This is an expansion. This is a regional growth of our facility,” Hughes said Wednesday, adding the company’s global customers with online retailers allows them to pump dollars back into the Miss-Lou economy.

“We are excited to expand our business into Natchez and the state of Mississippi. Vidalia and Natchez are essentially one town, separated only by a river. We intend to continue growing at both of our facilities and advancing the cause of regionalism for the Miss-Lou,” he said.

The Mississippi Development Authority and the City of Natchez are providing assistance for access road improvements.

“MDA is glad to welcome Southern Gifts and Designs as the newest member of the Natchez business community and newest corporate partner to the state. In Natchez, the company found the ingredients needed to accommodate its growth, and I am certain its new location will serve the company well for generations to come. We appreciate our partners at Natchez Inc. and the City of Natchez for working with MDA to ensure Southern Gifts and Designs’ successful expansion in Adams County,” said Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director John Rounsaville.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the growth of Southern Designs and Gifts exemplifies that the Natchez and Vidalia region is pro-business and a partner for business growth.

“We couldn’t be more excited about Southern Designs and their expansion into Natchez. Their growth from one location to two, along with the rapid success of these young entrepreneurs, is truly an American success story. And the promise of new jobs and new industry is a Win-Win for the Miss-Lou,” Gibson said.

Southern Designs and Gifts also qualifies for the Advantage Jobs Rebate Program, which is for eligible businesses that create new jobs exceeding the average annual wage of the state or county in which the company locates or expands.

“Natchez, with its prime location on the Mississippi River and access to major highways and a skilled workforce, provides the perfect solution for Southern Gifts and Designs’ need to expand its manufacturing and shipping operations. The collaboration between public and private partnerships in the region, all who share the common goal of bringing new job opportunities to the people of Adams County, has been key to bringing this economic development win to Natchez,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves stated in a news release from Natchez Inc.