STN Headliners

Week of March 12, 2001

In this week's edition:

Clemson to host tire conference

CLEMSON, SC - Clemson University is hosting the 16th Tire Industry Conference March 21-23 at the Hyatt Regency at Hilton Head, SC.

Participants will benefit from 27 technical and market-oriented presentations on the interaction of technology and business from leading manufacturers, regulatory agencies and associations and publications and consultants.

Among presenters will be representatives from KoSa's Tire Cord business unit and Honeywell Performance Fibers.

Those who would benefit include industry engineers, research scientists, technology and production managers, as well as managers of all types.

For more information, call Kay James at (864) 656-2200 or visit www.clemson.edu/success.

Mayfair Mills to close three plants

ARCADIA, SC — Mayfair Mills, Inc. will close three plants due to current market conditions, leaving 425 people out of work, Frederick B. Dent Jr., company president, announced Thursday.

The closings are the first in company history, according to a company spokesperson.

Affected operations include the Mayfair Plant here, the Lincolnton Plant in Lincolnton, GA, and the Starr Plant in Starr, SC. Terminated employees will be given preference for any job openings at other company sites, Mayfair said.

The consolidation was made necessary by the “failure of an agreement on February 13 with a second party that would have refinanced the company so that full operations could have been continued,” the company said in a statement. “This was due to the unexpected inability to obtain financing for the project.”

WestPoint Stevens to close yarn plant in SC

WEST POINT, GA — WestPoint Stevens, Inc. announced that, in the continuation of its Eight-Point Plan of restructuring, it will close its Whitmire, SC, Plant, which produces yarn for the company’s greige sheeting plants.

Preparations for shutting down the facility will get under way immediately to meet a projected closing date of May 1, the company said. Ultimately, some 292 Whitmire associates will be affected.

House, Senate vote to repeal OSHA safety rules

WASHINGTON — Following the lead of the U.S. Senate, the House Wednesday voted to repeal new OSHA workplace safety regulations, one of President Clinton’s last legacy-building actions before leaving office.

The House vote of 223 to 206, which fell largely along partisan lines,was a major victory for business and a big defeat for organized labor. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation soon.

Editorial

Week of March 12, 2001

Things will get better — we’re positive

"IT’S BAD out there!"

That’s what we keep hearing. In the field, on the phone, through written correspondence — people keep telling us how bad things are in the textile and related industries. But are things as bad as people are saying? As bad as they’ve ever been?

We don’t think so.

Things definitely aren’t as rosy as they were a few years ago. They’re quite thorny, actually. And companies can’t seem to stop the bleeding. Imports are up. Orders are down. Inventories are up. Stocks are down.

Our very foundation is shaking. Will we tumble?

Seems you can’t pick up your STN these days without reading of another mill or supplier closing its doors or consolidating. We seem to be losing more warm bodies than any other industry around — 28, 173, 329 people at a time. It adds up quickly and, frankly, we’ve stopped counting.

Legendary names like Hightower and the Bishopric are falling by the wayside, while companies such Mayfair Mills continue to take a beating. Just last week, the Arcadia, SC, fabric producer announced it is closing half of its six plants and handing pink slips to 425 people, marking the company’s first plant closing in its 67-year history.

When will it all end? How will it all end?

No one can say.

WHILE WE sit here in one of the industry’s bunkers, we put ourselves — this publication — in a position to judge the battle and the battlefield. And evidence seems to indicate that the industry indeed is in a state of despondency right now. The strongest indicator we use: our advertising revenues. For instance, this, our ATME-I preview issue — traditionally one of our "healthiest" papers — is off nearly 50 percent from a similar edition just last fall. Which is difficult to understand, given the promise of recovery that a trade show of this nature brings. Being near the end of the food chain tells us that somebody, in addition to us, isn’t being invited to the dinner table.

Our gut says that people are in one of those "wait-and-see" modes, afraid to pull the trigger because the future is so hazy. The U.S. economy is down, attendance at the last ATME-I in October was down and, perhaps, exhibitors’ hopes are down. We would like to think otherwise.

IN THAT spirit, may we suggest that things aren’t as bad as people make them out to be? Is it too far-fetched to call this downturn an aberration, a mere blip on recovery’s radar screen? Seems to us that things could, and should, be better. We tend to believe that we’re witnessing a self-fulfilling prophecy at its finest, a manifestation of our own negative thinking. If you hold a false belief, you base your actions on that belief and a new reality is created.

Despite evidence that gloomy conditions do exist, let us offer a more sunny approach to this situation. Simply put: Think positive. Seems trite, yes, but until you believe that things will be better, they won’t get any better.

We accept the notion that optimistic people are winners in good times and survivors in hard times.

You are what you think, you know.

So think good thoughts. It’s not that bad out there.

Despite what you may be hearing.