Contempora Fabrics, Lumberton, N.C.
When did you start in the textile industry?
I started here at Contempora in February 2015.
Had you been in the textile industry prior to Contempora?
Yes. I worked for a company that produced textile products for industrial use like wet bags and house wrap.
What types of products does Contempora specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?
Typically, we produce fabric for apparel like team sports and workwear – performance polyester fabrics and cotton fabrics. We also make some products for industrial uses.
What does your job mean to you? Your family and your community?
My job to me, I love it. I really do. I love working with the people, great family-oriented people to work with. I love seeing our products when you go into stores. For the community, I’m so glad we still have companies thriving in manufacturing. There aren’t many textile companies that are still operating here in Robeson County. Our community needs more manufacturing to come back. We really do.
What is your role in producing PPE products for your company?
I work in examination. I help to ensure quality control measures are taking place in order to ship first quality fabric. During this crisis, we have helped to produce cloth for masks and gowns.
How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
Very proud, very proud.
Why is it important for textiles to be made, cut and sewn and/or finished in America?
Bring jobs back to America. Take pride in America. We need it, we lost a lot of companies when he manufacturing went overseas. We need more jobs back in America, and product that's made here in America.
Contempora Fabrics' efforts
In mid-March nearly all of Contempora Fabrics’ entire regular business stopped in just a few days. It was able to switch its business model around quickly to start producing PPE. It knew that it had to move quickly as the need in the country was so great. Keeping its plant operating and keeping people working was a top priority, but only if it could do it safely. Contempora adopted many new procedures to be able to work safely while practicing social distancing .
The company’s main business is team sports, performance and work wear. It had had to go through a very large learning curve as it started producing fabrics for masks and gowns as well as producing its own masks. Contempora had to make sure that it was adhering to proper labeling and product claims from a testing and regulatory standpoint.
“I was very proud of our company and staff as we completely transformed our company in just a few days,” said Ron Roach, company president. “At the height of our mask production, we were producing masks in the U.S. in six different U.S. locations. We also added production out of Mexico and Nicaragua as well when we could not keep up with the demand in the U.S.”