By Michelle T. Bernard, O-N-E Reporter
One of Maiden's largest employers announced that it will be shutting its doors, according to a press release. Almost 160 textile manufacturing jobs from Maiden's Delta Apparel (Delta) facility will be shipped to Honduras according to the press release. Employees were notified on Thursday that the plant would be closing.
The plant, which has been in Maiden for over three decades, will start closing down early in July and should cease fabric production by the third week of July according to Delta's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Humphreys.
This announcement was made as part of the release of Delta's Fiscal 2016 Second Quarter and Six-Month Results. The report stated that during the past two years, Delta has been expanding its manufacturing capacity and improving its flexibility to better serve its customers while also focusing on process improvement and cost reduction to remain competitive in the apparel marketplace. In furtherance of these goals, Delta is initiating a manufacturing realignment that will result in the closure of its textile manufacturing operation in Maiden, and the transition of production to its Honduran textile facility.
Delta is investing approximately $7 million in new equipment for its off-shore manufacturing operations that should be installed this quarter to expand output in those facilities according to the report.
In a press release dated June 4, 2014, Delta announced plans to transfer the production of some fabric for basic tees currently manufactured at Delta's Maiden plant to Honduras, increasing production at the Honduras facility by approximately eight percent to roughly 900,000 pounds of fabric per week. At that time approximately 70 employees lost their jobs.
"I've been going to Maiden for over 29 years now and have known a lot of the people for a long time and obviously have a great regard and respect for them," Humpreys said. "It's always painful to tell people that you no longer have a facility that is economically viable in today's economy."
This plant closing is not just a loss of jobs but also a loss of revenue for the Town of Maiden.
"More than anything I hate it for the 159 families that are affected from the loss of the jobs," Maiden Town Manager Todd Herms said. "We have already made contact with the Western Piedmont Council of Government with their Work Force Development Division for them to start the process of reaching out and trying to help these people that have lost their jobs find new ones.
"Fromm a town standpoint what hurts us the worst is that they were by far our largest water and sewer customer so it's going to cost the town just shy of a million dollars in water and sewer."