One of the last U.S. apparel manufacturers of its kind is losing its shirt.
Family-owned FesslerUSA has survived war and depression, free trade and foreign imports to produce millions of knitted garments from its base in Orwigsburg, eastern Pennsylvania.
Then the Great Recession hit.
Sales plummeted. Financing dried up. And, after a long struggle to stay afloat, Fessler has finally run out of time and money.
Production will shut down this month, tossing 130 employees out of work and ending a run of nearly 113 years.
CEO Walter Meck blames the historic mill's demise on weak consumer spending, fresh competition from Asia, tighter credit standards that he says prevented the company from getting a loan, and a lack of interest from private investors and potential buyers.