Alamac closing Lumberton plant, putting 154 out of work

By: Bob Shiles -

LUMBERTON — Alamac American Knits is shutting down its Lumberton facility and closing its doors on 154 jobs, the company announced today.

Alamac’s employees and government agencies were told on Tuesday of the company’s plans to close, Mark Cabral, president of Alamac Investors LLC, and overseer of plant operations, said in a statement issued early today. Employees were given a notice informing them of the company’s plans for an orderly phase down and closing over the next two months.

The company and the North Carolina Department of Commerce will be assisting and preparing employees to find new employment, Cabral told The Robesonian late this afternoon. All vendors and creditors will be paid in full.

“We would not have lasted so many years in Lumberton if it had not been for our employees,” he said. ” I can’t say enough about our employees. Robeson County has a lot of good workers.”

Cabral also attributed his company’s success to the support received from the city of Lumberton, Robeson County and the community in general.

“The most difficult thing about this whole ordeal is people,” said Cabral. “There are not many people you can talk to in Lumberton who at one time or another did not have a family member who worked for us. At one time we employed 1,000. Of course that was back in the 80s and 90s. That was before NAFTA.”

According to Cabral, who has worked for the company 42 years, Alamac has been recognized as a leading manufacturer of knitted fabrics for 70 years. He said that even though the company had its challenges over the last couple of years, business was turning around until Hurricane Matthew swept through the county last October.

“Matthew put us in a tailspin. We have been fighting since October,” said Cabral. “…We are truly saddened by this unfortunate turn of events, but the impact Hurricane Matthew had on overall business proved too overwhelming and disruptive to the company.”

In addition to the hurricane, Cabral said that the company was feeling a pinch in its two major niche markets: uniform trade and flame resistant protective wear. These factors, added to the damage resulting from Matthew, made it “not practical” to continue operating the business, he said.

Alamac operates its manufacturing business out of a 415,000-square-foot building at 1885 Alamac Road in Lumberton. The building, which is located on a 148-acre tract, was built in 1962. Operation carried out on the site include knitting, dyeing, finishing and warehousing.

Alamac is recognized as a leading textile manufacturer in North America, according to the company’s website. The company began producing fabrics more than 65 years ago and has established a reputation as a supplier of exceptional fabrics in today’s commercial and retail markets. The company has extensive experience in manufacturing knitted fabrics for performance wear, protective wear, flame retardant, industrial laundering programs, workwear and casual apparel. The company also produces, piece-dyed and yarn dyed woven fabrics for the apparel, industrial and interior fabrics markets.

Cabral emphasized that this is an “orderly shutdown” and is not a bankruptcy. He said that his role right now is to see that the company’s employees and customers are taken care of.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles