Malden Mills Industries is the original manufacturer of Polartec polar fleece and manufactures other modern textiles. The company is located in Lawrence, Massachusetts and also has operations in Hudson, New Hampshire.
Fire and rebuilding
The Malden Mills factory burned down on December 11, 1995. A boiler at the company's plant had exploded, destroying three of the factory's buildings. The fire put 3,000 employees out of work. CEO Aaron Feuerstein decided to continue paying the salaries of all the now-unemployed workers while the factory was being rebuilt. By going against common CEO business practices, especially at a time when most companies were downsizing and moving overseas, he achieved recognition for doing the right thing.
In November 2001, Malden Mills declared bankruptcy after the recession at the beginning of the new year left the company unable to pay creditors—related to its rebuilding and payroll commitments. The company achieved solvency because of the generosity of its creditors, as well as government subsidies. Feuerstein was relieved of actual control of the company by its creditors.
However, in February 2007, the assets of Malden Mills were purchased by a newly formed company called Polartec, LLC which is owned by Chrysalis Capital Partners of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A notice on the old www.MaldenMillsStore.com said the week of July 23, 2007 would be the final shipping period for rolls of fabric from the company. The notice also said an employee group is starting a new fabric-making enterprise to be announced.
June 28, 2007, the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation said it would take over the underfunded (by 49%) Malden Mills pension plan, which covers about 1500 employees. PBGC said the sale of Malden Mills assets meant that the pension plan would be abandoned because the company missed a $1.7 million pension payment.
Polartec offers over 400 different fabrics including:
- Polartec Power Dry
- Polartec Power Stretch
- Polartec Classic Micro, 100, 200, 300
- Polartec Thermal Pro
- Polartec Alpha
- Polartec Wind Pro
- Polartec Windbloc
- Polartec Power Shield
- Polartec Power Shield 02
- Polartec Power Shield Pro
- Polartec Power Shield Stretch Wovens
- Polartec NeoShell
- Flame Resistant Fabrics and Layering Systems
Polartec's customers include all branches of the United States Military, Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Mountain Hardwear, Cabela's, Lands' End, L.L.Bean, Jack Wolfskin, Lafuma, Bosky, Eider, Millet, Rab and many other technical apparel brands around the globe.
In 2011, Polartec launched a waterproof breathable fabric called Polartec NeoShell. This is a new category for Polartec – competing directly against Gore-Tex and other waterproof breathable fabrics. Polartec NeoShell's differentiating feature is a high level of air permeability.
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- "Malden Mills Returns to Bankruptcy". The New York Times, January 11, 2007.
- Polartec, LLC - Company Overview - Hoover's
- Mill Direct Textiles
- "Polartec Wholesale Fleece Fabric - Polartec Fleece Fabric by the Yard - Mill Direct Textiles". Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- PBGC Protects Pensions at Malden Mills
- "Bloomberg Businessweek". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- "Bosky Snow Goggles".
- Broudy, Berne. "New Jacket Fabrics Vent Sweat Without Letting Water or Cold Air Sneak In". Bonnier Corporation.
- "20 years after fire, Polartec says it will close in Lawrence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- "Lawrence ‘Double-Crossed’ By Polartec Leaving Malden Mills, Former CEO Says « CBS Boston". WBZ-TV. Retrieved 21 December 2015.