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Springs To Merge Chester Plants

 Springs Industries Inc., Fort Mill, S.C., will merge two facilities in Chester, S.C., into one and close part of its Fort Lawn, S.C., facility.As many as 190 people could be laid off, the company said, although displaced employees will be given first priority to fill other jobs that come open at Springs facilities in Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.Springs will merge its Eureka Plant, built in 1892, into the Katherine Plant, built in 1968. Both facilities weave fabric for bedding and are located in Chester. Looms from Eureka will replace older, narrower looms at Katherine.In addition, the carding and yarn departments at the Leroy Plant in Fort Lawn will be closed. The weaving operation at the plant, which employs about 160 people, will continue.The Katherine Plant will add about 90 jobs and eventually employ more than 700 people as equipment and associates transfer.While we regret the disruption this announcement will have on our associates and their families, it is a necessary step we must take to remain competitive, said Bill Easley, Springs president of textile manufacturing. Over the next several months, we will be trying to find as many opportunities as we can. We have had good success in finding jobs for people before, and we will work diligently to identify and reserve jobs for these affected associates. December 2001