Marking the end of an era, Greensboro, N.C.-based International Textile Group (ITG) has announced it will close its flagship denim operation — Cone Denim’s White Oak Plant — effective December 31, 2017. Production at White Oak officially began in 1905, and the plant was in continuous operation for more than 110 years.
According to ITG, demand and volumes have decreased in recent years, and the large plant offers more capacity than is needed and cost reduction measures have not brought costs to a level that is sustainable moving forward. The plant will work with customers to fulfill orders and then wind the operation down by the end of the year. Cone will offer severance packages to affected employees as well as assistance to find other jobs with ITG or through other local employers.
“We truly regret having to take this action and to close operations, and we deeply appreciate the loyalty and dedication of all current and former employees of the White Oak Plant,” said Ken Kunberger, president and CEO, ITG. “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.”
The City of Greensboro issued a press release stating that it is committed to assisting displaced employees find new jobs through the Guilford County Workforce Development. “This loss is regrettable, as Cone Denim has long been an important part of our City’s history and heritage,” said Mayor Nancy Vaughn.