Omega Apparel doors kept open

Some 130 employees of Omega Apparel have dodged a bullet some two months after the company announced it was closing its Smithville facility.

But thanks to city and county leaders, a deal was struck with a new California-based textile manufacturer to keep the plant operating, courtesy of the signing of a two-year lease by that company with two two-year renewable options for a possible six-year commitment.

According to city and county officials, the name of the new company has not been released with the president of the manufacturing company planning to make a future statement about its plans for the Smithville facility at a later date.

The lease agreement ensures the plant will continue its operations and not have to shut down and reopen later, according to DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The new company is a textile manufacturer with more than 30 years of experience with operations in Mexico and Taiwan as well as the United States, producing first-quality sports apparel and other garments.

September’s announcement that Omega would be closing its Smithville operations caught employees unaware. Omega had contracts with the federal government to manufacture military apparel, including Navy dress blues, women’s white slacks and the last cut of the Armed Forces uniform skirt.

The plant also had a subcontract with an East Tennessee company to produce parkas, some of which were for the military and some as commercial goods.

“This is good news for the county,” said Mayor Stribling. “It will keep these people employed so the factory will not have to close completely and open back up.”

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