Lenore Manley

Automated machine technician and inventory control clerk

Venus Group, Fort Lawn, S.C.


When did you start in the textile industry?

I started with Springs Industries in 1992.

What is your background?

Manual sewing/automatic textile equipment, and also inventory management, but most recently operating our new disposable mask machine.


What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?

We make dinner napkins, aprons and tabletops for restaurants and hotels, and recently Level 1 face masks


What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?

Everything! Not only does it provide for my family and I, but it also allows me to help others in so many ways – whether it be a ride to the grocery store or doctor’s office, to help pay a bill or be there for them financially.

What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?

We are making masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19 here and around the world. It is a blessing that we have the ability, machines and access to help in this pandemic. Venus Group made big investments to purchase equipment to manufacture mask.

How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
It is wonderful to know that I work for a company that cares so much for their fellow man. I have been very humbled to be a part of this. I am so blessed to have a job where I get to work with people who will do whatever it takes to help our brothers and sisters around the world fight the spread of COVID.

Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?

To keep the American people in jobs. We were a textile and manufacturing country. We depend on textiles. When a lot of manufacturing pulled out and left the States, it crippled us. I believe it is vital for all manufacturing jobs to come back and put the American people back to work. We cannot depend on other countries for our needs. We were once the leader in manufacturing at one time, and we must strive to become that leader again.


Venus Group's efforts


Venus Group, based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., with additional cut-and-sew operations in Fort Lawn, S.C., specializes in a wide range of textile products, including naperies (linens, tablecloths, napkins, et al), towels, sheets and more for numerous markets, including restaurants, laundries, hotels, hospitals and government applications.


The company is a longtime manufacturer of healthcare textiles, including bed linens, blankets, patient gowns, scrubs, lab coats, mattress pads, bibs and more, so Venus leaders knew that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) production was “in its lane” when the urgent need hit, according to Jeyur Patel, whose father (Raj) and uncle (Kirit) founded the family-owned and operated company in 1972.


Venus moved quickly into U.S.-based manufacturing at its ISO 001-certified S.C. facility and rapid distribution of medical-grade, disposable face mask production.


“Our customers really need these supplies, and we knew it would be a challenge from a supply chain perspective to rely on China for those products because of the skyrocketing demands,” he said. “Consequently, to be able to get these products to our customers in a matter of days as opposed to weeks or months, we decided to manufacture them in the U.S. Not only could we get them to those who need them faster, but we could also control the product quality in-house.