Furniture manufacturer Ethan Allen Operations Inc. will invest $2.79 million to expand its factory in Maiden, North Carolina, according to the North Carolina governor's office. The project is expected to create 302 new jobs at an average annual wage of $39,946 plus benefits. The Connecticut-headquartered manufacturer will close a factory in California and consolidate operations at the Maiden facility. "We are pleased that we are able to expand our upholstery operations in Maiden, North Carolina, where our highly skilled workers have produced handcrafted custom-made upholstery since 1949," says Farooq Kathwari, Ethan Allen's chair and CEO. "It is also gratifying to be able to work in partnership with the North Carolina state and local governments to help both our business and the local Maiden community." The state will provide Ethan Allen with a $109,000 grant, contingent on job creation and retention, that will be matched by local government agencies.