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Faribault is latest blanket plant in difficulty

Fairibault, Minn. – Faribault Mills has restructured its operations, closing its cotton mill in South Carolina and operating its woolen blanket mill here on a limited basis.

“The company is functioning, but in a limited way since a large piece of funding from the bank was withdrawn earlier this year,” said Mike Harris, former president and an investor. Harris and Gale Moesler, national sales manager, are no longer with the firm.

The Platinum Group is running Faribault with Merritt Loring, plant manager, overseeing operations.

Faribault, which has been in the wool business for 144 years, is not the only domestic blanket manufacturer hit hard by the tumbling economy and consolidated retail base. Beiderlack of America, the U.S. arm of the German blanket company, in May closed its plant in Cumberland, Maryland, after nearly three decades in operation. WestPoint Home’s plant in Biddeford, Maine, which has manufactured the Vellux blanket since the late 1960s, has been put up for sale. Vellux operations are scheduled to wrap up in August. The Pepperell Manufacturing Company began operations in Biddeford in 1845.