1888 Mills Shutting Down One of The Last Terry Manufacturing Plants In The US

As the sun sets on the industrious heartland of Griffin, Georgia, the rhythmic hum of the 1888 Mills’ looms will soon fade into an eerie silence. The company has announced its impending closure, citing insurmountable operational costs.

Editor’s note: Our coverage originally said that 1888 Mills was the last terry manufacturing plant in the US. This is incorrect. Standard Textile in Thomaston, GA, and American Merchant in Bristol, VA, are still operational. We corrected the article to reflect this update.

This closure not only leaves a void in the American textile landscape but also raises pressing questions about the future of domestic manufacturing. What does this mean for the local economy and the hundreds of workers directly affected by it? More importantly, what does it foretell for the ‘Made in the USA’ initiative in an economy increasingly under the sway of globalization?

The Implications for U.S. Manufacturing

The closure of the 1888 Mills Griffin facility signifies a major setback for U.S. manufacturing, highlighting the challenges domestic producers face amidst rising operational costs. It’s a blow that underscores the struggle to maintain a competitive edge in an industry where cheap overseas labor often trumps the allure of homegrown quality.

The decision to shut down doesn’t just affect the company’s 340 employees. It’s a ripple effect that’ll resonate through the Griffin community, which has supported the facility for nearly three decades. The loss of a major employer can’t help but impact local economies, from small businesses to real estate values.

But there’s more at stake than local repercussions. This closure chips away at the remaining U.S. manufacturing base, threatening the viability of a ‘Made in the USA’ model. It’s a stark reminder that domestic production isn’t just about national pride—it’s about jobs, communities, and the health of the American economy.

While 1888 Mills’ corporate offices, distribution operations, and warehousing facilities will remain in Griffin, the loss of the manufacturing plant marks the end of an era. It’s a wake-up call for U.S. industry, signaling the urgency to innovate or risk losing more domestic manufacturing to foreign competition.

Future Prospects for Domestic Textile Industry

Despite the closure of the 1888 Mills plant, there’s still potential for the U.S. textile industry, particularly as it adapts to changes in the market and embraces new technologies. Innovation and sustainability are key to the industry’s survival. Manufacturers are exploring bio-engineered yarns and other sustainable materials, mirroring global trends towards eco-friendly production.

Though rising operational costs have hit traditional manufacturing hard, it’s opening doors for other sectors. Companies are now moving towards high-tech textiles, such as smart fabrics and wearable technology. There’s a growing market for these products, and U.S. manufacturers are well-positioned to capitalize on it.

Furthermore, the current climate of trade uncertainty could be an opportunity. As tariffs impact the cost of imports, there’s potential for a resurgence in domestic production. Policies encouraging American manufacturing could stimulate growth in the textile industry.

The key to the industry’s future lies in resilience and adaptability. Manufacturers need to embrace change and seize opportunities in a rapidly evolving global market. It won’t be easy, but with innovation and strategic planning, the U.S. textile industry can navigate these turbulent times.

Final Thoughts

It’s a tough blow for U.S. manufacturing as 1888 Mills, one of the last domestic terry products makers, prepares to shut down due to rising operational costs. The closure, set for April, will leave around 340 workers jobless.

While corporate operations will continue in Griffin, Georgia, the loss underscores the ongoing challenges facing domestic production in today’s global economy.

Image credit: 1888 Mills

About The Author



Mike leads research on the team, writes, and manages the YouTube channel. He’s been buying products made in the USA for as long as he can remember. It’s in his blood, growing up working in American manufacturing.