• Cecile Corral

Georgia mills weather the storm

Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes recently declared the Calhoun section of Gordon County — home to some major home textiles mills — a disaster area, with damage estimated at $12.9 million after a tornado swept through the area less than two weeks ago.

But the region's four main textiles mills — Mohawk Home, Brumlow Home, Georgia Tufters and Springs Industries — fared well through the early morning storm, with no fatalities among employees and only minor damage to some plants and offices spaces.

Mohawk Home lost only one full working day at one plant because of an electrical and telephone outage the day of the storm, Bill Kilbride told Home Textiles Today.

"But we still ran the packaging area," Kilbride said. "We lived through this and worse. It's no big deal. We feel very lucky that everyone is fine and that our facilities are fine."

Having learned a lesson from a major blizzard that struck the same area in 1993, Mohawk has since equipped itself with a strong backup system of power generators and has contingency plans in place.

"Thanks to that, our business wasn't hurt," Kilbride said, "not a bit."

The little damage that did occur at the Mohawk Home plant and offices in Calhoun included loss of electrical power and telephone connection for 24 hours after the storm at a processing center; damage to a section of carpeting at the entranceway of the building; and minor damage to two storage rooms.

"Some of these losses are irrelevant because of our backup systems," Kilbride said. "For example, none of our electrical commerce was interrupted with our customers for one minute."

Damage at Georgia Tufters was "only a couple of small leaks, a broken window due to flying debris and the loss of a canopy over the front door that flew away," said David Record, vp, national sales manager.

While no inventory was harmed, the company did lose some paperwork and product labels due to some flooding inside its facility.

Georgia Tufters felt perhaps the greatest impact of the storm, losing power for almost 48 hours.

But Record said it had virtually no effect on production or business.

"It was a minor disruption," he said. "Obviously it put us behind. But over the next few days we played catch-up and got right back on schedule, up and running as usual."

Springs Industries, which owns and operates its washable bath and accent rug manufacturing plant here, felt minimal setbacks from the storm — "we only lost power for about 10 hours," said Ted Matthews, vp of corporate communications, Springs. "But that's really about it. We had no upsets at all in our operations."

Most fortunate of all was Brumlow Home, which experienced no power or telephone outages and no damage to its facilities or inventories.

"The only damage we experienced was the damage some of our employees experienced at their own homes, but here were had no damage or any problems whatsoever," said Mitchell Brumlow, president. "We just cranked out our goods with no interruptions."

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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