Documentary to examine life, work of Charles A. Cannon

Published 12:02 am Sunday, October 8, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

KANNAPOLIS — A documentary set to premiere at Gem Theater Oct. 15 will examine the life of Charles A. Cannon and his effect on the textile industry.

For decades, Cannon led the company bearing his family name — Cannon Mills. The company became the world’s largest producer of textile products and created the community that would become Kannapolis.

Charles Cannon was the son of James William Cannon, who created the Cannon Mills Corporation. Now, with the help of the Cannon Charitable Interests, a documentary will examine Charles Cannon’s life and effect on the textile industry.

The documentary — “Charles A. Cannon: A Mind for Business, A Heart for People” — will premiere at 4 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Gem Theatre — 111 West 1st St. in Kannapolis. The screening will be free and open to the public.

Robin Hayes, Charles Cannon’s grandson, said the documentary shows that he cared about his employees to the same degree as he cared about the quality of the mill’s products.

“It’s a valuable education piece for people to see and understand what a person who believes in free enterprise with a conscious could create,” Hayes said.

Often, he said, people believe that business should be focused on the “bottom line.” He said the documentary shows the that employees are key to making a top-quality product. Hayes said he hopes the documentary will be a valuable history lesson and resource for people in the future.

Joanne Hock, who directed the documentary, said one reason for its creation is that the mill no longer exists. In its place sits the N.C. Research Campus and Kannapolis City Hall. As Cabarrus County grows, many newcomers don’t know about the history of Cannon Mills, Hock said.

She said the film includes interviews with people who were alive during the heyday of Cannon Mills or worked at the company, including local historian Norris Dearmon. The documentary will also recreate moments from Cannon’s life.

“Film viewers will be transported to the mill floor, board room and linen closets of American families during Cannon’s years as the largest home textile producer in the world,” a news release said.

Bill Cannon, one of Charles Cannon’s grandsons, said his grandfather’s story is rooted in a commitment to success for a small, southern town.

“That vision, along with his business acumen, forward-thinking approach to industrialism and true concern for his employees, left an indelible mark on the world of manufacturing, branding and distribution,” Bill Cannon said in a news release.

Produced by Greyhawk Films, the documentary is about 60 minutes long.

Additional screening opportunities will be posted on the film’s website at; the film also will be available for free streaming.

Editor’s note: This article has been update to state how the film can be viewed after the premiere.

Contact Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.