As the founder of Little River Sock Mill and Zkano, Gina Locklear was recently featured and recognized by reporter Steven Kurutz in the New York Times.

The article describes Locklear’s difficulties and successes in launching the two brands, along with the downfall of the sock business in Fort Payne. It also labels Locklear as “The Sock Queen of Alabama.”

Kurutz spent three days in Fort Payne with Locklear, her family and her team learning the ins and outs of the hosiery business. He also learned what small businesses like Little River Sock Mill are doing to help boost the local economy and about Fort Payne’s deep ties to the art of sock making.

In 2000, Fort Payne, or the “Sock Capital of the World,” hosted around 125 hosiery mills. By 2011 the number dropped to about only 20. This tragic period left many people in the area unemployed.

Locklear’s family, who run Emi-G Knitting, started the mill in 1991. Locklear came to them nine years ago about starting a line of organic cotton socks, but her parents were skeptical about starting a new brand. Now, she maintains a modern and productive business that has stretched its popularity all the way to New York, but not just to the Times.

Last fall, Little River Sock Mill was selected as an honoree in Martha Stewart’s American Made program. Only ten companies out of the entire nation were chosen for the honor. In November, Locklear headed to New York with her parents to be honored for her one-of-a-kind socks.

In addition to the line of fashionable women’s socks, this fall Locklear plans to introduce men’s socks to the Little River brand. Zakano’s mens collection is already known and worn by actors such as Tony Hale.

To read the full article, visit nyti.ms/1qjPDIT.

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