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Springs to merge two plants, close part of one

Springs Industries, citing increased competitiveness throughout the industry, announced plans to merge two of its facilities and close part of a third.

The Eureka and Katherine Plants, both of which are located in Chester, SC, and weave fabric for bedding, will be merged starting Dec. 17. Looms from the Eureka plant, which was built in 1892, will replace older, more narrow looms in the Katherine plant, which was built in 1968. Eureka will consequently close its doors permanently by July 2002. After the operation to transfer jobs and equipment is completed, the Katherine plant will have 90 employees added to its roster.

The major mill's Leroy Plant, located in Fort Lawn, SC, will have its carding and yarn departments closed by July 2002. However, the weaving operation, which employs 160, will continue to operate.

Although Springs announced that affected employees will have first priority to fill positions within the company, approximately 190 workers will be laid off.

"While we regret the disruption this announcement will have on our associates and their families, it is a necessary step we must take to remain competitive," said Bill Easley, president of textile manufacturing for the Fort Mill, SC-based mill. "Over the next several months, we will be trying to find as many opportunities as we can. We have had good success finding jobs for people before, and we will work diligently to identify and reserve jobs for these affected associates."

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