Advanced Textile Producers Opts for Columbus County

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The Southeast Region’s efforts to attract advanced textile manufacturers continue to yield results as Discovery Textiles, the developer of an innovative new line of hospital bedsheets, has taken over a 6,000 sq.-ft. production bay at the Tabor City Small Business Development Center. The family-owned firm launched its manufacturing operations there after honing its product design at an R&D facility in the nearby community of Delco.

“They needed more room for a start-up operation,” reports Gary Lanier, executive director of the Columbus County Economic Development Commission. The firm has a patent pending on its design of a lightweight bedsheet that maximizes patient comfort while reducing the amount of water and energy required for laundering. “It’s got the same feel as cotton, but is a lot less hydroscopic,” Mr. Lanier says.

 Discovery’s linens are not sewn; instead the company relies on technology-rich machinery to produce the sheets. While initial employment at the company’s new site is six workers, the number is expected to grow as additional production capacity is phased in, Mr. Lanier says. “As they add more machines, they will hire more people.”

 In launching its Tabor City production site, Discovery Textiles worked closely with North Carolina’s Southeast Commission leaders, who had assisted the firm when it was ramping up R&D efforts in the region in 2010. Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation also played a key role in keeping the company in Columbus County. The coop’s economic development adjunct, the Rural Consumer Services Corporation (RCSC), linked Discovery to a $250,000 loan needed to acquire its initial piece of production equipment. RCSC also operates the Tabor City Small Business Development Center, one of its two business incubators in Columbus County. “The folks at Brunswick Electric really helped put this company on its feet,” Mr. Lanier said.