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Norwalk Furniture Halts Operations

Developer backing out of a deal that might save the troubled Ohio furniture company, leaving the future of the company and hundreds of employees up in the air.

NORWALK, Ohio (AP) -- A developer says he's backing out of a deal that might save a troubled northern Ohio furniture company, leaving the future of the company and hundreds of employees up in the air.

Norwalk Furniture, based in Norwalk in northern Ohio, halted operations this week and idled 500 employees in Ohio and 300 in a Fulton, Miss.

Company chairman Jim Gerken says he hopes the layoffs will be temporary.

Stuart Lichter, the California developer negotiating to purchase the company, says the deal collapsed because of trouble getting funding from a bank. Norwalk's downward spiral started when its banking partner cut off its credit line in July.

Since then, Lichter and two investment firms had been negotiating a deal to save the 106-year-old company.

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