Closing of Plant Definite
Carthage Fabrics is closed, and everybody who worked there is out of a job.
"We are all on permanent layoff," said former plant manager Nelson Patterson. "They were working with a company in hopes of it being taken over, but as for now we are laid off."
Patterson may look for employment elsewhere, but for now he is thinking about a federal program to help people in industries hit by competition from foreign trade.
"I may go back to school," he said. "There is a trade act agreement that provides two years of unemployment benefits, and pays tuition for retraining. It even pays 65 percent of medical coverage."
That could help the rest of the 65 employees at the plant who are out of work. Many are just finding out that what they had been given reason to hope would be a temporary halt in production is likely to be the end of the line.
Carthage Fabrics had held on and kept going in an increasingly dismal business climate for domestic textile companies. In May, paychecks bounced when a pay-on-delivery charge hit the bank at the same time as the company payroll.
At the time, Patterson was optimistic. He was installing new, more efficient looms, hoping that the 15 employees he had to let go at that time would be the last. One worker could produce as much as six using the newer equipment.
But when Carthage Fabrics closed for the Fourth of July holiday, phones went dead and calls rang unanswered at the New York office of its parent company, Chopak Mills.
Now the factory on Niagara-Carthage Road is silent. Rolls of fabric lie behind the mill -- somebody threw them out of the back of the trailer where they were being stored and took the trailer away.
Only a few years ago, the company had 125 employees, and the owners came down for a happy open house celebration. The company produced mostly upholstery fabric used by furniture manufacturers in places such as High Point -- but the North Carolina furniture industry has been dwindling like textiles and tobacco.
In New York, CEO Dave Dan Selinka, reached by telephone, had nothing to say, though he did appear to hold out a faint hope that his company's only remaining plant would not be closed forever.
"I have no comment to make at this time," Selinka said. "I am going into a meeting now. We hope to be able to reopen, but there is nothing I can say now."
The closing came as a surprise to the industry as well as Carthage. In March, Selinka's company had partnered with Faribault, Springs Global through its Wamsutta brand and Supima, a company representing cotton growers, in a New York City demonstration called a "pop-up" store. They had a live cotton field set up on Manhattan city streets between Houston Street and Broadway.
Carthage Fabrics' main line of business had been broadwoven fabric made from silk, cotton and manmade fibers. Annual sales last year totaled $11,800,000. The company was founded in 1949.
Contact John Chappell by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story