Manufacturing Week: Meet Eden, NC’s Top Manufacturers/Industries

Friday, October 4th is “Manufacturing Day” across the U.S. and in Rockingham County.  To celebrate, we will be highlighting some of the major manufacturers/industries in each of our municipalities each day this week.  Today, we start with the City of Eden, North Carolina.

With more than 500 employees, Eden’s largest industrial employer is Gildan.  With global headquarters in Montreal, Canada, The company is the leading supplier of activewear for the screenprint market in the U.S. and Canada.  It has been operating a wholesale distribution facility in Eden since 2000.  The distribution center, located on Meadow Road in Eden, is primarily dedicated to servicing the screen print channel in the United States. The company has expanded four times since opening, and it now encompasses 1.2 million square feet at the Meadow Road facility, plus an additional 900,000 square feet at two satellite locations in Eden. The products distributed from the Eden facility include tee shirts, sport shirts and fleece that are sold in large quantities to wholesale distributors as undecorated “blanks”, which are subsequently decorated by screen printers with designs and logos.   Consumers can support Gildan by looking for the company’s label when purchasing tee shirts and fleece.

Did you know body armor worn by some of our U.S. military personnel is made in Eden?  KDH Defense Systems is a leading manufacturer of American-made, high-performance protective solutions.  Founded in 2003, KDH began with a mission to provide law enforcement, federal agencies, and the United States Department of Homeland Security with the highest quality American-made body armor available in today’s continually evolving protective apparel market.  With around 150 employees, KDH’s Eden facility includes armor cutting, sewing, and ballistic design, as well as product development, sales, and administration. The company chose to locate its production and headquarters in Rockingham County because of the available manufacturing space in a vacant building and access to skilled textile workers due to the region’s rich history in the textile industry.

Eden’s oldest manufacturer is Karastan, a division of Mohawk Industries.  The company has been operating its rug/carpet manufacturing plant here since 1928.  Karastan’s story as an innovator dates back to the 1920s when its “wonder rug” first amazed visitors at two World’s Fairs.  While the company is phasing out production of its iconic machine-made oriental rugs at the Eden plant, it still remains a vital industry to Rockingham County with around 200 full-time employees.  Now a division of Mohawk Industries, Karastan has continued as an innovator, implementing new technology to refine its manufacturing process and investing in equipment in the Eden plant to manufacture high-end commercial, aviation and residential carpet.  To support Karastan, consider purchasing the company’s carpet for your home or office.

AC Furniture has approximately 200 employees in Eden and is one of the country’s largest contract manufacturers of seating for the hospitality, healthcare and food service industry.  Headquartered in Axton, Virginia, the company opened its Eden facility since 1979 where it makes wood and upholstered seating for commercial use such as in restaurants, hotels and medical offices.

Loparex is a leading, global manufacturer of polycoated and silicone-coated papers and films that are used in a wide variety of adhesive applications.  It has had a manufacturing plant on Fieldcrest Road in Eden since 1995 and employs around 120 people.  Often known as the slick paper that is thrown away on numerous adhesives, Loparex’s extensive product line has been designed to meet the varying needs in the medical, hygiene, graphic arts, label and tapes industries and in other special industries and applications.  The company’s products are critical components of many medical supplies and devices, including backings for heart-monitor electrode pads and transdermal patches that deliver medicine through the skin. Loparex products and processes also are used in the automotive industry; for turbine propellers that generate wind power; and precise die-cutting used in mobile phones and digital cameras.  So the next time you peel the backing off of a Band-Aid or double-sided tape, remember that paper you throw away was probably made in Eden, NC.

Weil-McLain, a leading manufacturer of hydronic comfort heating systems for residential, commercial and institutional use, located a manufacturing and distribution plant in Eden in 2005. Weil-McLain’s hydronic boilers are installed in homes, offices, schools, restaurants, hotels and other facilities throughout North America.  Headquartered in Michigan City, IN, the company has more than 150 employees in Eden and its local facility also serves as a showroom and training facility for contractors and distributors.