Spinning a New Strategy

The U.S. textile industry is all but extinct. How one company is bucking the trend

VINCENT J. MUSI / AURORA FOR TIME

Ring spinners at the Patrick Yarns plant. The company specializes in not specializing.

The President of Patrick Yarns is a bit of an odd duck these days. While most domestic manufacturers are consumed by cutbacks and layoffs, Gilbert Patrick is looking to add to his North Carolina workforce. "We have been very fortunate to never lay off a single associate due to the economy in 45 years," says Patrick. Just what economy is he working in?

Patrick's roots in the North Carolina textile industry stretch back more than a hundred years. In the early 1900s, his grandfather started Kings Mountain Cotton Oil Co., which consisted of a cotton gin, an oil mill, a coal...

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