AAPN Carolina Mill Tour for Walmart makes four stops at textile producers
Posted October 28, 2021
The Americas Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN) resumed its unique AAPN Carolina Mill Tour earlier this week exclusively for Walmart.
The AAPN hosted 20 Walmart textile/apparel sourcing managers and merchants taking them to four Carolinas producers, including Parkdale Mills in Gaffney, S.C.; Carolina Cotton Works in Gaffney, N.C.; Contempora Fabrics in Lumberton, N.C.; and American & Efird (A&E) in Mt. Holly, N.C.
Walmart this year announced its $350 billion Made in USA Lighthouse initiative, aimed at strengthening its commitment to U.S. jobs and communities. The 10-year project aims to help identify and overcome top-down barriers to U.S. production.
Since Walmart is a longtime member of AAPN, the network has committed to leverage the organization, especially the broad member base in the Carolinas, to accelerate the investment they want to make in U.S.-based production of textiles and sewn products.
“Textiles will be the initial area of focus," said Scott Gutche, senior director of U.S. Sourcing and Manufacturing for Walmart, who was on the tour. “The goal of the U.S. Lighthouse is to support more U.S. jobs.”
The time on these tours allows for education, interaction, networking and socializing. The idea for this tour was hatched by Ron Roach and Alex Whitley of Contempora Fabrics in 2017. Working on their idea, it quickly expanded into a five-day tour featuring five stops at member mills and a one day in a Regional Conference.
AAPN chairman Tony Anzovino of Haggar accompanied AAPN Executive Director Sue C. Strickland and AAPN Managing Director Mike Todaro for the three-day Carolina Mill Tour this week. It was only the second face-to-face meeting of the AAPN since December of 2019.
Kim Glas, president & CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), join the tour on the second day stop at Contempora Fabrics.
AAPN had to cancel its 2020 Carolina Mill Tour, which is open ONLY to brand and retail managers, but regular tours will resume early next year on a date to be announced soon.