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A Look Back At Weakley County’s Manufacturing Past

Photos and certificates presented to Frank L. Prins over the years are on display at the Weakley County Archives. Prins and his son, Frank Prins, Jr., started Greenfield Manufacturing Company in 1947. At its peak, the garment manufacturing company employed around 700 workers.

Weakley County Archives Houses Items Relating To Greenfield Manufacturing, Kellwood Company

DRESDEN (December 22) — Patricia Schwarz of the Paris family recently donated items to the Weakley County Archives, including photos and historical documents about Greenfield Manufacturing and Kellwood Company.

According to the donated documentation, Frank L. Prins and his son, Frank L. Prins, Jr., opened the Greenfield Manufacturing accompany in 1947, with 50 employees manufacturing ladies’ dress coats.

During the Korean War, the plant supplied overcoats, parkas, and field jackets for the American armed forces.

Following the war, merchandising agreements with Sears & Roebuck to make women’s apparel expanded the business into Dresden and Martin.

The Dresden plant was in operation until 1987.

The Kellwood Cooperation in Greenfield had two divisions. The sewing floor closed in 1990. The cutting center received material and cut it for garments sewn at “off-shore” facilities. When the garments were returned to the distribution center, they were shipped to various retail stores.

Greenfield Manufacturing Company became one of the largest industrial employers in Weakley County.

In December of 1961, the company merged with 15 other family-owned manufacturers to form Kellwood Company.

By the middle 1960s, the number of employees had reached a peak of close to 700.

In the 1970s, the influence of foreign competition reduced the number of employees and dropped production significantly.

Cheap overseas labor also resulted in the closure of several other manufacturing companies across Weakley County.

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