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Glen Raven launching new yarn plant in 2013

In response to growing demand for Sunbrella fabrics woven with specialty yarn colors and constructions, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics is creating a new yarn plant in Burlington, N.C., the company announced. The new operation, which represents a $10 million investment, is being designed specifically to meet customer requests for increasingly diverse and highly decorative Sunbrella fabrics.

"Alamance County remains vitally important to our global company as this investment clearly demonstrates," said Allen E. Gant Jr., president and CEO of Glen Raven, Inc. "Innovation remains the driving force at Glen Raven, and this latest investment will assure that we are applying the latest technology within a creatively designed production environment."

The new plant will be located in an existing 130,000-sq.-ft. facility that formerly operated as Glen Raven's Ultra Spun division. It will be equipped with the latest in automated yarn manufacturing systems and configured around a manufacturing model engineered to support high levels of flexibility and customization.

Retrofitting of the 130,000-sq.-ft. facility has begun with a projected completion date of late summer 2013. Glen Raven employees currently working at the company's existing Link Spinning facility in Burlington will transition to the newly-renovated facility, which will result in 30 new positions for a total workforce at the new plant of 80. Planning is underway for repurposing the Link Spinning facility.

"Sunbrella brand fabrics are design-driven, which requires new colors and new specialty yarn blends with every season," said Randy Blackston, VP of operations for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. "This new yarn plant will enhance our ability to meet the market's growing demand for Sunbrella fabrics in fashion-oriented colors and styles."

The new Burlington Yarn Plant will resemble Glen Raven's flagship Anderson, S.C., plant with a modular, highly automated environment featuring lean manufacturing processes and the latest in air handling systems for product quality and employee comfort. Yarns produced at the Burlington Yarn facility will be woven into Sunbrella fabrics in Anderson.

"While our Anderson, S.C., and Norlina, N.C., Sunbrella yarn facilities are highly flexible and capable of supporting a broad array of yarn and fabric SKUs, our new plant will take this quick change capability to an entirely new level," Blackston said. "The process of design engineering and machine selection began two years ago and will result in a unique operation focused on specialty, blended and novelty yarns for Sunbrella fabrics."

Glen Raven's Ultra Spun facility, built in 1990, was originally dedicated to synthetic yarns for apparel markets, which Glen Raven discontinued in 2001. National Spinning operated the facility as a yarn plant until 2009.

"This building is an excellent facility and offers a unique opportunity to meet our customers' needs while offering a modern and exciting new work environment for our associates," said Leib Oehmig, president of Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. "Our outlook for the future of the Sunbrella brand is extremely positive, and we're fortunate to share this continued growth and success with the people of Alamance County."

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