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North Carolina Nabs New Cut-and-Sew Investment

Fashion and home textiles executive Deanna Hodges is launching Hodges International and opening a cut-and-sew manufacturing facility in Lincolnton, N.C., at an historic textile mill.

California-based Hodges said it purchased the old Duplan Mill in late 2020, bringing the building back to life after years of being abandoned. The decision to purchase the building came after months of researching multiple states and locations to find a home for a manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters.

Hodges has led the restoration effort to reestablish the mill and bring textile manufacturing back to the city of Lincolnton over the past 18 months and has begun manufacturing operations at the mill. Operations at the facility include cut-and-sew manufacturing, towel weaving, circular knitting and embroidery.

The 147,000-square-foot plant will employ more than 100 workers and manufacture uniforms, apparel, safety gear and other items for large retailers, brands, as well as the U.S. government. It will also assemble and ship pre-cut products. Segments within Hodges International include contract manufacturing, private label and total package manufacturing for brands and entities of all sizes, as well as collegiate licensing.

Hodges is the founder of Hodges International, H2 Home Collection and Hodges Collection. Hodges International said it is committed to creating jobs and bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. and is christening the mill as Sparty Mill.

The state of North Carolina is seeing a revival of its textile heritage, with a host of investments, factory openings and expansions breathing new life into the industry.

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Between January 2020 and December 2021, new and expanding textile operations have created 1,400 new jobs and announced more than $285 million of investments in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Community Investment Report. According to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), employment in the state’s textile industry was 35,813 as of the second quarter of 2021, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.” This compares to about 33,000 people in 2019, EDPNC said. These workers are employed in 828 textile manufacturing facilities compared to 600 in 2019.

In January, Mount Vernon Mills agreed to acquire Wade Manufacturing Company’s yarn spinning and weaving facility in Rockingham, N.C. The move will make Mount Vernon vertically integrated from yarn production to finished fabric in certain products and give the company greater control of its supply chain.

Children’s wear manufacturer LT Apparel Group said in December it was expanding operations in North Carolina with an investment of at least $57 million in Greensboro. The company’s project targeted 116 new jobs to the community and will help increase industrial capacity at the Reedy Fork Corporate Park. LT Apparel Group, with headquarters in New York City, designs, sources, manufactures and markets children’s apparel. The company’s family of brands includes Adidas Kids, Carhartt Kids, and its owned brand, French Toast.

Also in January, Bast Fibre Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of premium natural fibers for the global nonwoven and textile industries, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lumberton Cellulose, a natural fiber processing facility located in Lumberton, from Georgia-Pacific Cellulose.