27 Feb Keeping Textiles Great in North Carolina
(Winston-Salem, NC – February 12, 2019) – One of the few manufacturers remaining from the era of North Carolina’s textile heyday, Carolina Narrow Fabric celebrates its 90th year of business in 2019. While many textile manufacturers in the area have shut down or moved overseas, Carolina Narrow Fabric continues to operate from the very building from which it began in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 1929.
When most people hear the word “textiles,” they tend to think of apparel, but Carolina Narrow Fabric manufactures technical textiles for industrial applications. Its products are used in commercial industries ranging from aerospace to medical to oil and gas. Most of the fabrics manufactured at Carolina Narrow Fabric look less like the fabrics seen in shirts and blankets and, instead, are strong and often hard materials that can withstand extreme force and high temperatures.
The company’s unique niche is not the only thing that sets it apart. Unlike most textile companies, Carolina Narrow Fabric is keeping production stateside while expanding its operations and adding more well-paying manufacturing jobs. The company’s medical division, CNF Medical, recently acquired the assets of Parker Medical Associates of Charlotte, N.C., making CNF Medical the only company manufacturing medical casting and splinting products in the United States.
Jeffrey Freeman, president of Carolina Narrow Fabric, said: “Our company has an incredible 90-year history of innovation and American-made manufacturing. We can look back on our past with pride, but we’re really focused on what’s next for the company as we expand.”
As a part of Carolina Narrow Fabric’s efforts to concentrate on the future, the company is creating an apprenticeship program designed to develop highly skilled technicians prepared for careers in textiles. The program will launch in February 2019, creating career opportunities and advanced training for many whose circumstances prevent them from pursuing higher education at universities or technical colleges. A training effort like this not only benefits the company, but will also have a positive impact on the local community and on the textile industry as a whole.
Freeman said: “Textiles have been a cornerstone of North Carolina’s economy for more than a century. At CNF, we’re designing innovations that can change the game for companies across a wide range of industries. And we’re providing well-paying jobs in our community.”
Since 1929, a lot has changed for Carolina Narrow Fabric and for the United States textile industry as a whole. While manufacturing companies continue to dissolve or move offshore, a few endure and even thrive, leaving hope for a new wave of prosperity in textiles.