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New life for an abandoned mill

Swatches | October 1, 2022 | By:

Company owner Deanna Hodges cuts the ribbon to open the renamed Sparty Mill as some of her employees look on. Photo: Devin Steele, eTextileCommunications

A new cut-and-sew manufacturing operation, called Sparty Mill,  has opened in Lincoln County, N.C., as part of a plan to revive an old mill building. The mill, built in 1905, had previously been home to Duplan Mills, Hudson Hosiery, Chadbourn Industries, Spanco, and six other textile operations, but it had sat empty for many years.

Deanna Hodges, a veteran textile and fashion executive, business advisor, speaker and author, purchased the mill in 2020. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, the first phase of the 147,000-square-foot mill building’s revival includes roughly 10,000 square feet. About 12 employees have begun working at the facility.

“I hate seeing these old mills being bulldozed,” Hodges says. “It is a big part of what built North Carolina and the East Coast. I’m just really thrilled to be able to save this building and put it back into use.” 

Sparty Mill’s business is largely made up of contract manufacturing, Hodges says. Once the future phases of the mill restoration are complete, Hodges expects to have over 100 employees working there. Operations at the facility will include cut-and-sew manufacturing, towel weaving, circular knitting and embroidery.

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