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Bloomsburg Mills To Close

Bloomsburg Mills Inc. — a Bloomsburg, Pa.-based fabric manufacturer that has been in business since 1889 — will shutter its manufacturing plants and cease operations by May 31. The closings will affect 134 employees at its Bloomsburg weaving facility and 92 employees at its dyeing and finishing facility in Monroe, N.C.

According to President and CEO James P. Marion III, the ongoing influx of low-cost imported textiles and the current economic downturn have brought on the closings. “Bloomsburg Mills has lost more than 60 percent of its sales volume during the past decade, and, as a result, we have undergone numerous downsizings to adjust for this loss,” Marion said. “We have made considerable progress in our efforts to restore ourselves to profitability and continue as a domestic manufacturer, but the dramatic drop in business that we experienced at the end of calendar 2008 has worsened, resulting in severe curtailment of our operations. The results of the first three months of 2009 have been very poor, and, based on the current economic outlook, we cannot envision any scenario in the foreseeable future that would enable us to return to being a profitable company on an ongoing basis.”

The 120-year-old company was founded as a silk weaver, opening its yarn processing and weaving mill in 1889 and the dyeing and finishing plant in 1979. Bloomsburg initially was known as a manufacturer of high-fashion dress fabrics and later evolved into a producer of specialized fabrics used for home furnishing, industrial, napery, medical, military, filtration and other end-uses.

“The people who work for Bloomsburg Mills have always been second to none in their dedication to, and excellence in, manufacturing the highest quality fabric, and it is truly sad that we have had to reach a decision to exit this industry after so many years and cause hardship for such good people and the communities we operate in,” Marion said. “However, like many domestic manufacturers, we have seen most of our markets exported to lower cost foreign manufacturers, and our customer base has finally eroded to the point where our business no longer remains viable.”

Bloomsburg Carpet Industries Inc., a woven carpet manufacturer that has been operating in Bloomsburg for more than 30 years, is not affected by the closure of Bloomsburg Mills.

April 7, 2009