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Tuscarora Yarns to close China Grove plant, lay off 123 workers

By Mark Wineka

mark.wineka@salisburypost.com

CHINA GROVE — Tuscarora Yarns Inc. will close its China Grove plant at 308 E. Thom St. effective May 9, putting 123 employees out of work.

The company filed a  Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN) with the N.C. Department of Commerce March 10. The WARN notices are required in cases of plant closures or certain numbers of layoffs.

Debbie Davis, manager of the N.C. Works Career Center for Rowan County, confirmed the plant closure and said her office will be meeting with Tuscarora representatives next week, starting the efforts to find employees new jobs or connect them with skills to land future employment.

Tuscarora Yarns, a company dating back to 1899, has headquarters in Mount Pleasant. It opened the Thom Street operation in China Grove in January 2011 when then Gov. Bev Perdue announced a $146,000 grant for the plant from the One North Carolina Fund.

In addition, the China Grove Board of Aldermen and Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved property tax incentives as a way to entice Tuscarora Yarns into an expansion. Tuscarora said it planned to invest $6.3 million between 2011-2014 in China Grove.

At the time, Tuscarora Yarns moved its existing China Grove operation at 406 N. Main St., where 57 people were employed, to the former Hanesbrands plant at 308 Thom St., which was larger and more modernized.

State and company officials said then the new China Grove plant would employ 124 people.

The 2011 incentives approved by the town and county gave Tuscarora Yarns a 75 percent refund of the company’s property taxes on new investment over five years.

Rowan County commissioners happened to tack on an addendum at the time that said if the company ceased operations or eliminated a majority of its workforce, it would be required to repay all grant proceeds from the prior three years.

Tuscarora Yarns has had a presence in China Grove for 30 years. The company produces a variety of yarns for things such as sportswear, underwear, hosiery, sweaters, home furnishings and automotive components.

In 2011, the average annual wage for new jobs at the China Grove plant was going to be $27,334, not including benefits.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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