published Friday, March 8th, 2013

Renfro Corp. adding 168 jobs at sock plant

A Cleveland, Tenn., manufacturer is adding a new product line, plowing $17.5 million into its plant and creating 168 more jobs over five years.

Renfro Corp., which makes socks and other leg wear, said an increase in its current and new product lines has driven the company's need to renovate space in its Michigan Avenue facility and lease added distribution square footage.

Andrew L. "Bud" Kilby Jr., chief executive of Mt. Airy, N.C.-based Renfro, said in a statement that Renfro has been part of Cleveland for seven years and the expansion "marks a new chapter for Renfro and the community."

Lisa Pickel, director of existing industry for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, said the company provides over 250 jobs in the city.

"It once again shows the world this region provides a world-class workforce," she said.

Renfro is the licensee for leading brands including Fruit of the Loom, Dr. Scholl's, Ralph Lauren/Lauren Polo, Copper Sole, Wrangler, Sperry, Russell, Jerzees, Spalding, Bike and Carhartt. The company owns fashion brands K. Bell and Hot Sox.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said the state placed a renewed focus on helping existing Tennessee businesses like Renfro expand in its Jobs4TN economic development strategy.

"When a global company like Renfro chooses to expand in Tennessee, it sends a strong message about our state's business-friendly climate," said Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty.

Renfro has manufacturing and distribution facilities in the U.S., India, China, Pakistan, Canada and Mexico.

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