Manufacturing Week: Spotlight on Mayodan, NC’s Industries

The Town of Mayodan was built around industry having developed due to the railroad and textile industry.  Mayodan’s manufacturing and industrial base is diverse today but textiles still account for the highest number of jobs.

One of the world’s largest yarn spinners, Frontier Spinning Mills, operates two manufacturing plants in Mayodan and is the town’s largest employer.  The company produces 100% cotton and cotton blend spun yarns for the knitting and weaving industries.  Frontier began operating in Rockingham County in 1992 and continues to flourish here, employing more than 500 people total between its two local plants.

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.’s firearms manufacturing plant opened in Mayodan in 2013 and it was one of this area’s largest economic projects in decades.  Ruger is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of high-quality firearms for the commercial sporting market, and a major producer of precision steel investment castings.  The company produces hundreds of thousands of firearms each year for hunting, target shooting, collecting, self-defense, law enforcement, and government agencies.  

Ruger’s Mayodan plant is its third manufacturing plant in the United States and is also home to Ruger Sportswear & Accessories.  The company refurbished a former textile manufacturing facility and currently has over 370 employees.  Ruger selected Mayodan and Rockingham County following a competitive site selection process between North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Florida.  It ultimately chose Rockingham County because of the available workforce here.

McMichael Mills is another textile company that has been successful in Rockingham County for nearly three decades.  The company was established in 1993 and it has manufacturing, distribution and headquarters operations in Mayodan.  McMichael Mills, which employs nearly 200 people, produces high-quality covered elastic yarns for uses in a variety of products such as the hosiery, narrow fabrics and medical markets.  The company’s innovative solutions, commitment to quality and competitive prices helped McMichael Mills endure through the years.  It is now an international leader in spun-stretch yarns and is the most sought after yarn converter in the business.  McMichael Mills’ two yarn plants produce over 500 different stretch yarns each year, which amounts to more than 20 million pounds of yarn.  The company serves customers worldwide and its yarn is used in more than 50 prominent brands in products such as socks, orthopedic and compression stockings, airline tags, and athletic shoes. 

Bridgestone Aircraft Tire USA moved its retreading operations to Mayodan in 2007 from Miami, Florida.  The company was attracted to the area because of the advantages in having a readily available workforce, proximity to major customers and transportation corridors, and an available manufacturing building.  The Mayodan facility is Bridgestone Aircraft Tire’s headquarters for its North America division, which is part of the global Bridgestone Corporation based in Japan.  With a team of about 100 full-time employees, the company retreads tires for commercial aircraft in its 160,000 square foot facility in Mayodan. 

Mayodan is also home to a plastics company, Blow-Molded Solutions.  The homegrown company, which opened in 2010, has approximately 80 employees.  By 2016, Blow Molded announced a $2.4 million expansion that included a 20,000 square-foot-addition to double its manufacturing facility.  Blow Molded provides large blow molded plastic parts for the recreation, consumer, industrial, and large truck markets. 

Sutherland Products a homegrown, family company based in Mayodan that manufactures the Charlie’s Soap brand of cleaning productsFounded by Charlie Sutherland, Jr., the company has been in business for over 40 years and its original Charlie’s Soap industrial cleaner was developed to clean machines in the local textile mills.

When the textile mills moved overseas, the second generation of Sutherlands—Charlie’s sons Taylor, James and Morgan—restructured and grew the business beyond industrial cleaning.  In 2002, Charlie’s sons took over, launched the Laundry Powder, rebranded the company and its products, and modernized operations.  Using the same basic formula, which is all natural, environmentally safe and hypoallergenic, Charlie’s Soap now includes a full line of cleaning products from laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, indoor/outdoor cleaner, and more.  Since then, Sutherland Products has enjoyed an average 25% growth year over year and its laundry powder has been a top seller on Amazon.  The company sells products online as well as through thousands of brick and mortar locations in all 50 states and 50 countries. 

In 2016, Sutherland Products completed a major expansion with the purchase of second, 120,000 square-foot facility in Stoneville.  The company invested over one million dollars in the Stoneville location, which houses the corporate offices and distribution center.  The manufacturing remains in Mayodan. It’s still a family-run business with about 20 employees.