Reality TV show apparel company moves to Salisbury, plans to buy building

SALISBURY — A company that makes T-shirts and caps for reality shows like “Duck Dynasty” and “Swamp People” has set up shop in Salisbury and plans to buy and renovate the old Pro Mats building, making a $500,000 investment on South Main Street.

Salisbury City Council on Tuesday voted to award a $25,000 grant to Club Red Licensed Apparel to help with the renovation.

Club Red moved its headquarters from Cummings, Ga. to Salisbury in June, hired 30 people and plans to hire 10 more, said CEO James Dennis, a Rowan County native. The company’s clothing is manufactured at a related business — Thompson Screen Prints in Rockwell with 70 employees — and the Salisbury facility, which Club Red currently leases, serves as a distribution center, warehouse and corporate office.

The city has a grant program to help businesses buy and rehabilitate older, vacant buildings in pivotal city corridors.

“It’s a wonderful thing to do for a company that’s bringing their operation from another state to Salisbury,” City Councilwoman Karen Alexander said. “By supporting them in this way, we will reap the benefits as citizens of the community through job growth.”

Club Red Licensed Apparel, which has been in business since 1994, launched Jeff Foxworthy’s apparel line. Dennis, along with chief financial officer Troy Thompson and chief operating officer Mark Harrison, who are also from Rowan County, bought Club Red from Foxworthy.

They also make clothes for Larry the Cable Guy, Sons of Guns, Moonshiners, the NRA and others and started Uwharrie Apparel, another North Carolina company, in 2006. Dennis employs 12 full-time graphic design artists in his Concord studio.

If stacked on top of each other, T-shirts created by Club Red would reach the top of Mount Everest, he said.

The old Pro Mats building “has challenges,” said Robert Van Geons, executive director for RowanWorks Economic Development Commission, showing photos of parts of the building covered with graffiti. Club Red executives were not deterred.

“We have big plans for restoration,” Dennis said.

Work will begin soon, he said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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