What Was Once The Largest Textile Plant In The World Is Closing Its Doors After 112 Years


For most of the 1900s, North Carolina was one of the largest producers of textiles in the world, but over the past 30 years, we’ve been seeing a steady stream of closings and layoffs as more and more textile jobs are shipped overseas.

The latest closing is perhaps one of the most historic. After over 110 years of continuous production, the Cone Denim Plant in Greensboro, NC is about to close its doors for good.

According to a press release by the International Textile Group, Inc. (ITG), the plant will officially shut down on Dec. 31, 2017, and will lay off 200 workers.

When the Cone Denim Plant first opened in 1905, it officially became the largest textile plant in the world. Now with more and more textile plants opening overseas and prices continuing to fall, Cone Denim simply can’t keep up.

“We truly regret having to take this action to close operations, and we deeply appreciate the loyalty and dedication of all current and former employees of the White Oak Plant. Their talent, effort, innovation, dedication, and customer focus all combined to create a White Oak brand, heritage, and legacy that will forever be the heart of the Cone Denim business,” commented Kenneth Kunberger, president & CEO of ITG. “We would also like to thank the City of Greensboro for its strong support over the years for both our White Oak facility as well as our ITG corporate headquarters. We are proud to call Greensboro our home.”

Greensboro’s Mayor, Nancy Vaughan also released a statement about the closing:

“We are saddened by today’s announcement. The City of Greensboro is committed to helping these employees and their families plan for their futures with the resources available at Guilford County Workforce Development. This loss is regrettable, as Cone Denim has long been an important part of our City’s history and heritage. That will not change, especially as International Textile Group will retain its headquarters, community involvement, product development and other corporate and division activities in Greensboro. We remain optimistic about Greensboro’s employment prospects, as we chart an aggressive path toward new economic development with our regional partners.”