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Morning Sun
  • National Mills closes doors after 26 years

  • National Mills, Inc., a clothing manufacturer with its main production center in Pittsburg, closed Monday.

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  • National Mills, Inc., a clothing manufacturer with its main production center in Pittsburg, closed Monday.
    In a statement released Monday, company officials cited the recession as a reason for the shutdown.
    “Following careful consideration, National Mills today announced it will close the business, effective today," the statement reads. "The closure encompasses the entire company. National Mills regrets having to take this action. It is simply a reflection of the prolonged and challenging economic climate The company is working closely with its affected employees to provide them information, assistance with their benefits, and to provide support in their needs.”
    Further details were not available on Monday, as company officials declined interview requests and all calls to National Mills were referred to Parris Communications, Inc., a company representing National Mills. 
    According to Christine Hamele, vice president for Parris Communications, 38 people worked at National Mills' Pittsburg and Merriam sites. According to the company's Web site, National Mills also had a plant in Honduras, although it's unknown how many people were employed there. 
    In early February, 15 of the company’s 38 employees were cut from the Pittsburg plant due to decreased workloads. At the time, those layoffs were described as "temporary" and expected to last about a month. However, Louis Bonner, director of North American operations, said the layoffs could extend past 30 days if workloads did not increase. 
    Mark Turnbull, Pittsburg's director of economic development, said he is working with the Workforce Development Center to help find employment for those who lost their job in the National Mills shutdown.
    "We hate to lose another business," Turnbull said. "We are trying to contact similar skill set businesses that might have interest in employing the affected employees. We are trying to do everything we can to identify the needs of the families and the businesses that might eventually employ them."
    National Mills was founded in Pittsburg in 1983 as a T-shirt screen printing and manufacturing business. Despite its closure after 26 years, Turnbull praised the company for its longtime presence in the local community.
    "It was a tough area with the competition they saw day in and day out," he said. "It's a tribute to employees, management and ownership to keep that going as long as they have."

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