Crocus's blog

Yet another small company closes their doors

Posted January 22, 2011

I don't knit with cotton yarn that often, but Pisgah's Outlet in Asheville was on my list of places that I wanted to go shop.  I've seen pictures and it looks like it'd be dangerous for me and my credit cards to go in there.  

 

It is always sad to me to see small companies closing their doors because they just aren't able to compete with the big guys and even sadder that it is here in NC.   Whenever possible, I try to check where the yarn that I'm buying comes from and try to buy US milled stuff whenever possible.   There are times that things cannot be made in the US, like Malabrigo, but I feel happy knowing that my purchase from Malabrigo is helping farmers and villigers in Uruguay.   I've read a little about the company and they pay their farmers fairly and the animals are raised running all over the mountains so I buy happily.  

 

Plant Owner: 81 Jobs At Risk

 

Within the next few months, Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing will effectively shut down its operations in Old Fort.

Jack Lonon Jr., president of the family-owned company, told The McDowell News on Thursday that the company’s assets will be sold to Spinrite Yarns of Canada. The sale will become final on Feb. 25. After that, the future of the business will be uncertain.

“There’s too many things up in the air,” he said. “I am not sure what is going to transpire.”

But he added that the new owner will use the plant buildings as a distribution center for three months. This new operation will employ just six people and there is no telling what will happen after that.

Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing now has 81 full- and part-time employees. The change means many of these folks will likely be out of a job. Lonon made the sad announcement to his workers on Wednesday.

“The employees to us have always been like family,” said Lonon to The McDowell News. “That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, to make that announcement.”

All of the yarns and inventories at Pisgah Yarn will go to Canada. Lonon said his firm is probably the largest sewer customer for the town of Old Fort too. Pisgah Yarn has three buildings in the town.

Lonon said this is happening for several reasons, including the bad economy. The price of cotton is going up and this will result in significant increases for goods made from cotton. Walmart, which is Pisgah Yarn’s biggest customer, has also made some changes in the types of yarns that are sold at its stores.

“It is just hard for the little fellow to compete anymore,” he said. “We can’t compete on the level where we need to be.”

Based at 550 Orchard St., the company dyes yarn. It was founded 40 years ago by Lonon’s father, Harold Lonon Sr.

Pisgah Yarn is also known for its outlet store where folks can buy such brand yarns as Peaches & Crème, America’s Best and Honeysuckle Yarns. A billboard on Interstate 40 advertises the company and its outlet store.

“Our sole mission is to produce the highest quality craft and specialty yarns,” reads the company’s website. “As one of the last surviving American textile mills we have to be nimble in providing service, often shipping orders on the same day we receive them.”

Now, all those years of providing quality goods and services may be over.

“It’s the plight of textiles,” said Lonon. “It’s just a sad day.”

10 Comments

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  • hank5049 Jan 22, 2011

    Unions are bankrupting the USA.

  • hank5049 Jan 22, 2011

    The unions of today are not like unions were say 20 to 30 years ago. It's just like the NAACP, at one time that organization was needed. Now IMO, the NAACP is not needed.

  • hawk_fan Jan 22, 2011

    SDR -- My dad was in a union when he worked for Oliver and White Farm tractors. He made a decent living and worked his but t off as did most of his co-workers. The union protected the workers in many ways. (ie: if you were injured on the job, you weren't fired immediately unless it was your negligence.)

    Sure OSHA has stepped in to provide safer conditions, but my dad's membership in a union helped to pave the way for those conditions.

    He put in over 30+ years for those companies and in the end discovered that his pension fund had been invested in junk bonds, and his promised health insurance disappeared. Those men worked hard for that company, took pay cuts in hard times and dealt with lay-offs. In the end, the owners robbed them of their security and left our town high and dry.

  • smalldogsrule Jan 22, 2011

    Actually, a LOT of manufacturing facilities in NC have unions. Unions are just not as powerful here as they are in non-right to work states. Here, they can not bar you from working for failing to join the union. But the threat of a strike always over inflates wages, and the unions also make it difficult to fire people. If an employee has no fear of being fired, what is the incentive to actually work?

  • hawk_fan Jan 22, 2011

    SDR -- I didn't think the textile mills in NC had unions?

    Personally, I miss the union labels. The clothes that I purchased might have been more expensive but they were much better quality and lasted longer.

  • smalldogsrule Jan 22, 2011

    That's part of what the "union label" does. Blue collar jobs are a thing of the past in the U.S., they are going away, and unless something is done to rid the industry of the onerous taxes and overinflated union wages, they will NEVER come back.

  • 1carpe Jan 22, 2011

    The real shame of it is the textile industry started it's exodus in the mid to late 70's. Smaller operations have been able to hold on but now they also are going.

  • Crocus Jan 22, 2011

    I know, Grumpy. That is one of the reasons that I try to buy US made yarn whenever possible. And if I do buy outside of the US, I want to make sure that it is a company that pays living wages etc.

  • Grumpy-Not Jan 22, 2011

    It is a sad situation. Many mills are closing their doors or selling out after hanging on for as long as they can

  • reconcile your racism Jan 22, 2011

    Too bad, so sad....

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