Pillowtex shutters two NC facilities

Marvin Lazaro, April 30, 2001

KANNAPOLIS, NC — The expiration of a designer license and the pending sale of a division has led to the closing of two Pillowtex Corporation manufacturing facilities.

The blanket yarn plant in Newton, NC, and the cut-and-sew plant in Rocky Mount, NC, will both close at the end on June 30, leaving approximately 290 Pillowtex employees without jobs.

"We regret the closing of these facilities and the impact it will have on the employees, their families and the surrounding communities," said Bob Haase, executive director of operations. "However, we must assure the longevity of our overall business by taking steps that will allow us to service our customers more effectively and, in turn, maintain the company's viability in the very competitive home textiles industry."

The Newton plant employs 110 people and has been part of Pillowtex's manufacturing operations since 1995. Haase said the proposed sale of the blanket division directly led to the closing.

"Potential buyers did not include an offer for purchase of the Newton facility," he said in a statement released by Pillowtex, based here. "Yarn produced there is used exclusively in the manufacturing of blankets and is not usable in our bedding and bath manufacturing."

Pillowtex's Ralph Lauren licensed fashion bedding was exclusively manufactured in the Rocky Mount plant, which employs 180 people. That license, however, will also expire at the end of June and has been picked up by another company.

According to Don Mallo, vp, human resources, the company is working closely to relocate the employees affected. Representatives from the North Carolina Employment Security Commission will be at both sites to provide assistance and answer questions from employees.

"Our goal is to make certain that all employees impacted by the closures at Newton and Rocky Mount have immediate access to information they need to help them and their family members," Mallo said.

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