Malden Mills Industries is the original manufacturer of Polartec polar fleece and manufactures other modern textiles. The company is located in Andover, Massachusetts and has operations in Hudson, New Hampshire.
Malden Mills was founded in 1906 by Henry Feuerstein and operated for three generations under the Feuerstein Family. Malden Mills started off with specialization in lightweight fabrics and wool clothing.
Fire and rebuildingEdit
The Malden Mills factory burned down on December 11, 1995. A boiler at the company's plant exploded, destroying three of the factory's buildings and causing 40% damage to the whole plant. The fire happened during the company’s off season leading to minimized losses. Products and new equipment were being stored in separate trailers and warehouses. (Textile Mill Fire Near Fleeces Polartec)
Lawrence, Massachusetts was already experiencing a downward economy due to many other companies leaving to find cheaper labor elsewhere and many residents were worried about the loss of another factory. The fire injured 36 people and placed 2700 jobs at risk. The fire was later ruled an “industrial accident.”
CEO Aaron Feuerstein made the decision overnight to quickly rebuild. He extended the pay and benefits of his employees while the factory was being rebuilt. Rebuilding was completed on September 14, 1997, leaving 70 employees still displaced. By going against common CEO business practices, especially at a time when most companies were downsizing and moving overseas, he achieved recognition for doing the right thing.
In November 2001, Malden Mills declared bankruptcy after the recession at the beginning of the new year left the company unable to pay creditors—related to its rebuilding and payroll commitments. The company achieved solvency because of the generosity of its creditors, as well as government subsidies. Feuerstein was relieved of actual control of the company by its creditors.
However, in February 2007, the assets of Malden Mills were purchased by a newly formed company called Polartec, LLC which is owned by Chrysalis Capital Partners of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A notice on the old www.MaldenMillsStore.com said the week of July 23, 2007 would be the final shipping period for rolls of fabric from the company. The notice also said an employee group is starting a new fabric-making enterprise to be announced.
On June 28, 2007, the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation said it would take over the underfunded (by 49%) Malden Mills pension plan, which covers about 1500 employees. PBGC said the sale of Malden Mills assets meant that the pension plan would be abandoned because the company missed a $1.7 million pension payment.
In 2007 Malden Mills filed its final bankruptcy and Versa Capital purchased the assets to create a new company, Polartec, LLC.
Polartec offers over 400 different fabrics including:
- Polartec Power Dry
- Polartec Power Stretch
- Polartec Classic Micro, 100, 200, 300
- Polartec Thermal Pro
- Polartec Alpha
- Polartec Wind Pro
- Polartec Windbloc
- Polartec Power Shield
- Polartec Power Shield 02
- Polartec Power Shield Pro
- Polartec Power Shield Stretch Wovens
- Polartec Power Wool
- Polartec NeoShell
- Flame Resistant Fabrics and Layering Systems
Polartec's customers include all branches of the United States Military, Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Mountain Hardwear, Cabela's, Lands' End, L.L.Bean, Jack Wolfskin, Lafuma, Eider, Millet, Rab, Outdoor Research , Quiksilver and many other technical apparel brands around the globe.
In 2011, Polartec launched a waterproof breathable fabric called Polartec NeoShell. This is a new category for Polartec – competing directly against Gore-Tex and other waterproof breathable fabrics. Polartec NeoShell's differentiating feature is a high level of air permeability.
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- Mill Direct Textiles
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