Louisiana-based Vidalia Mills is now turning over a limited amount of product and plans to ramp up production in the near future.
However, it will require more employees than originally planned. Though the mill initially expected to make 300 hires, the number has grown to nearly 500 by the end of August.
“We knew that with as big a project as this is it would take time,” Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft told The Natchez Democrat, a Mississippi-based publication. “… We’re just really excited that they’re starting up. It means that for those who want to work, there will be some jobs out there.”
Vidalia Mills CEO Dan Feibus stated that the facility will be operating at full capacity within the next three to four months.
The company is immediately searching for machine operators and maintenance technicians over the age of 18 with a high school diploma. Training will be done on-site, and wages start at $12-$13 per hour with benefits.
The facility, which spans 900,000 square feet on 150 acres of land, is sustainably focused, using only 100 percent certified sustainable E3 cotton from farm-direct sourcing. It also has plans to open an on-site garment-processing center that uses waterless, state-of-the-art technology, which will create even more jobs.
Since 2018, Vidalia Mills has been on a crusade to bring denim production back to the U.S. Last week was a major turning point in the journey, as the mill created its first pair of jeans in-house with Nashville denim brand Imogene + Willie.
The mill, which operates out of a former Fruit of the Loom Factory in Vidalia, La., and uses selvedge denim looms once owned by the now-defunct White Oak plant in North Carolina, mirrors Imogene + Willie values for “Made in USA” production.