Sentinel Progress

Ellison Plant to close

EASLEY — Alice Manufacturing Company in Easley announced on Monday the Ellison Plant — which employs 175 people — will shut its doors for good on June 30.

According to the company’s website, the Ellison Plant is the “cornerstone” of the Alice Manufacturing Company.

More than 25 percent of the total employees from Alice have been with the company for “at least 25 years,” they said, before referring to their associates as “the backbone of the company.”

The company’s biography states the company got it’s start in 1910 when the Alice Plant was built by E.H. Shanklin and named after his only daughter, Alice.

In 1923, Alice Manufacturing Co. was founded with five employees in a former brick factory on Main Street.

The Arial Plant followed in 1928 and Ellison in 1966 when Alice Manufacturing Co. expanded to include broadcloth.

A statement from the company said they are working to place associates with other companies in Pickens County and offering training as well as scholarships for continuing education to assist with their employees’ transitions.

“The Ellison plant team has had a proud 50-year history of producing the finest textile products in the world,” said E. Smyth McKissick, III, chairman of Alice Manufacturing. “Thousands of folks have come here for decades to create the highest-quality fabrics. They’ve worked together for a common purpose and have created a community of the very best people.”

McKissick said the company’s focus is on the well-being of the employees, who he described as the “heart and soul” of the Ellison plant.

“Our company is dedicated to helping employees make as smooth a transition as possible,” he said. “The Ellison plant started operations in 1968 and during its history, these folks have produced well over a billion yards of fabric serving a unique variety of markets from apparel to home furnishings customers.”

A company spokesperson said the global textile industry has undergone tremendous change in recent years and the once vibrant U.S. and NAFTA markets — on which plants like Ellison have depended — have changed dramatically due to a flood of imports from producers in non-market economies.

But although Ellison is closing, company officials insist Alice Manufacturing is not.

“In response to these changes, Alice Manufacturing founded a fashion bedding business in 2000 in order to become closer and more important to the final consumer,” they said.

“We are energized about the future of our fashion bedding business,” McKissick said. “This business made two acquisitions in 2017, and we believe both of these will generate terrific synergies and build on its successful platform.”

McKissick said that though the company is changing how it does business in order to compete, its values have never wavered. Those values include a commitment to team, quality and customer service while producing relevant, market-driven soft goods.

The plant employs 175 people.
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_ellison-1.jpgThe plant employs 175 people. Courtesy photo
The last operating textile mill in Easley will shut down June 30.

By Kasie Strickland

kstrickland@championcarolinas.com

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.