An Iowa company that makes athletic clothing is going out of business and will shut a factory in Clinton, N.C., with more than 80 workers.
Dodger Industries will take another six weeks to fill its last orders and sell its assets to repay suppliers and creditors, CEO Stephen Throssel told the Des Moines Register.
He blamed the demise of the company, founded in 1940 as Dodger Gym Co., on foreign competition, shrinking market share and declining clothing prices.
"It's a sad time. We're a family. There's been a lot of crying, a lot of anger, a lot of resentment," he said. "We're grieving."
The company employs 10 people in Iowa, so the bulk of the layoffs will hit the Clinton facility, which Dodger bought in 1994. The factory is located about 65 miles southeast of Raleigh.
In a letter notifying N.C. regulators of pending layoffs, Dodger officials wrote that they had tried to find a buyer that would continue to employ its workers. But "operating losses and the resulting drain in cash was too great to overcome," the company wrote.
The Clinton facility will close on March 28, and all sewers, cutters and other workers will be let go, the company wrote. The company sells athletic shirts, pants, hats and other products to schools, little leagues and other customers.
Throssel told the Des Moines newspaper that Dodger tried to downsize and restructure, but “the recession just knocked us off our pins.”
The company, which employed 400 at its peak, was profitable until about five years ago, Throssel said.
"A couple years ago, the owners decided to take the last couple million in equity and see if we could turn the company around," said Throssel, whose father was one of Dodger's original investors.
Throssel said he hopes the Iowa and North Carolina workers quickly find new employment.
"It's been a long, fun ride with a difficult ending," he said.
Read the Des Moines Register report here.