Wisconsin textile manufacturer acquires Tarboro's Glenoit Fabrics

dbracken@newsobserver.comOctober 21, 2013 

Editor's note: This story incorrectly described the type of knitting done in the Glenoit Fabrics' Tarboro plant. It is sliver knitting, not silver knitting.

A Wisconsin textile manufacturer has acquired Glenoit Fabrics, which operates a mill in Tarboro that employs 45 people.

Monterey Mills, formerly a competitor of Glenoit’s, plans to modernize the Tarboro plant an hour east of Raleigh in an effort to turn around its sagging fortunes.

“We’re going to be hiring at least a half a dozen people in the next 30 to 60 days,” said Dan Sinykin, Monterey’s president. “And as production begins ramping up – as I hope will happen – we’ll add more associates to work equipment.”

Glenoit’s plant in Tarboro once employed 1,100 people in the late 1990s, but the company has struggled to stay afloat in the face of cheaper competition overseas.

Monterey Mills acquired Glenoit from a local ownership group that had bought the business from Haixin, a Chinese company that acquired Glenoit in 2002.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed. Monterey’s acquisition includes the machines inside the plant but not the building itself, which Monterey will lease from the local ownership group.

The Tarboro plant is one of only a handful of sliver knitting mills that remain in the U.S. Sliver knitting, or high-pile knitting, is a process that locks individual fibers into a lightweight knit backing. Such fabric is used in a number of different products, from fleeces and saddle pads to the fabric for mascots and stuffed animals.

Monterey operates a sliver knitting mill in Janesville, Wis. Sinykin said one of attractions of the Glenoit acquisition is that the Tarboro mill has a large number of Jacquard knitting machines, which are able to knit patterns.

“They have more Jacquard hard knitting machines than I have in Janesville,” he said. “I have more machines than they do, but I have a lot of plain knitting machines where I can’t knit a pattern.”

The company also expects to make use of the manufacturing expertise of Glenoit’s remaining employees, many of whom have worked for the company for decades.

Although Monterey Mills has also been hurt by overseas competition, Sinykin said the company has found success by focusing on industrial applications. One of the company’s core markets is making the fabric on the end of paint rollers.

“Industrial applications have not gone overseas as significantly,” Sinykan said.

“We’re just looking for growth opportunities,” he said. “We want to make sure that high-pile knitting is available to domestic manufacturers for many years to come.”

Staff writer David Bracken

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