Multi-National Sports Apparel Venture Selects Anson, Montgomery Counties
Officials of King Charles Industries expect to break ground by early April on a $12.5 million facility that will be part of a global sports-apparel business. The company, a joint venture between Taiwan’s Kingwhale Corporation and Lilesville, N.C.-based Hornwood Inc., announced its location plans last fall.
“We are excited about the opportunity to build a new business in Anson County with the latest technology,” said Chuck Horne, chairman of King Charles Industries, which is creating over 100 new jobs at its new dyeing plant in Anson County. Additional jobs are on the horizon in neighboring Montgomery County, where the venture is readying a circular knitting operation.
Founded in 1992, Kingwhale is a vertically integrated provider of high-performance garments for the global apparel industry. It was an official supplier of the 2002 Winter Olympic in Salt Lake City. Hornwood, a 70-year-old textile company, makes an extensive line of products for buyers in the automotive, apparel, medical and other industries. Its workforce in Southeastern North Carolina currently numbers 350.
“The new facility will be adjacent Hornewood’s existing facility,” says John Marek, executive director of the Anson County Economic Development Partnership. “They anticipate being in operation by the 4th quarter of this year.” The company will supply leading U.S. outerwear brands, many of which now seek domestic manufacturing partners.
Local and state officials worked with the Southeastern Partnership in winning the project, which had also considered a site in Lancaster, S.C. A $300,000 grant from the One North Carolina program is complementing local financial support for King Charles’ new operations. “The Southeast was absolutely instrumental in securing support from the state,” says Marek, who joined Anson County’s economic development program shortly before the October announcement. “The deal was closed before I even got here,” he adds. “They did the blocking and tackling on this project.”
Also joining Anson County in supporting King Charles Industries are the N.C. Community College System and the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority. Ellen Tai coordinated the project on behalf of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “The arrival of King Charles Industries highlights the close collaboration that exists among our local, regional and state economic development organizations,” said N.C. Representative Mark Brody of the day of the announcement.
State Senator Tom McInnis said the announcement brings the region a “leading-edge producer of performance apparel. We look forward to King Charles Industries being a valued, long-term member of North Carolina’s manufacturing community.”