Renfro Corporation to make protective face masks

Renfro Corporation shared information about protective face masks they are producing at their sock mill in Fort Payne to meet the need during a global pandemic. 

For a century, Renfro focused on manufacturing millions of pairs of socks every week at its U.S. facilities. That is until March 2020, when it became apparent that the company’s design and manufacturing expertise could be used to provide millions of face masks to companies and communities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Renfro CEO and President Stan Jewell said his company swiftly converted its factories to the production of face masks.

“In partnership with local companies like First Choice, Surge Staffing, Onin Staffing, Ebsco and Cooper Hosiery, Renfro has a capability naturally fulfilled by our existing equipment. Together, we are manufacturing masks that feature excellent protective properties, an innovative ergonomic design, superior comfort and are washable and reusable. Within a short time, we will be joining companies across the globe that are extending a hand to others, and will produce more than one million masks per week,” he said.

“We are proud to partner with the City of Ft. Payne and with DeKalb County to provide protective masks as one part of the solution to combat COVID-19,” Jewell said.

Face masks are worn to minimize exposure to airborne particles and respiratory droplets from coughing that can contaminate the face. Masks create a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer. They are sometimes worn with protective eyewear as Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people leaving their homes wear PPE to supplement everyday preventive actions, such as hand washing, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser thanked Renfro for rising to help meet the nation’s difficult challenges.

“Thanks to Renfro for developing this, and especially for making it available to the city and county,” said Chesser.

He touted their face mask as superior to others on the market.

“Renfro’s mask is the only local one I know of that is actually effective toward the virus,” Chesser said. “It actually kills the virus, not just blocks it. There are several companies throughout the world that are making these. The infusion of copper and silver is what does the trick. They are not cheap.”

Jimmy Durham of the DeKalb County Economic Development Authority said his office worked with Renfro, helping them with contacts with the state and other agencies.

“We are proud that Renfro is manufacturing the PPE masks to the State of Alabama,” Durham said. “They have made donations of some of the masks to our local first line agencies.

“There are several other local companies also providing services and products to protect our many workers who have been on the front line fighting the COVID-19 coronavirus. Renfro converted some of their hosiery machinery to making the masks and is presently seeking qualified employees. They are one of the larger employers in DeKalb County and the manufacturing of these masks will create more new jobs for our area.”

The jobs could not come at a more critical time as the economy has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, with stores and businesses shut down for weeks, in order to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Millions of workers have been laid off, put on furlough or made to work from home.

Renfro is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that accepts applications and resumes for positions that are currently open.

Positions are listed at each facility, as well as

Based in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Renfro has locations in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, New York, California, Mexico, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea and Europe.

The Company holds the exclusive sock license to many leading brands including Fruit of the Loom, Polo Ralph Lauren, New Balance, Dr. Scholl’s, Carhartt, Russell, Keds, Sperry, Vera Bradley and Merrell. The Company also owns its own brands including KBell, Hot Sox and Copper Sole.

Their products are sold by retailers such as Walmart, Kmart, Macy’s, Costco, J.C. Penney, Sears, Target and others.

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