Fall River, MA
Quaker Fabric began as Vertipile, Inc., a flocked fabric company founded by Clive E. Hockmeyer in 1939 in Lowell, MA. What later would become the home location for Quaker began operations in 1945 as General Textile Mills, a small family-owned fabric mill in Fall River. The name changed to Quaker Fabric at the end of 1979, following a merger with a sales company that operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Providence Pile Fabric. In 1984 Vertipile acquired Quaker Fabric Corp.
Larry Liebenow and partners acquired Quaker Fabric in 1989. The company grew to become one of the largest producers of jacquard upholstery fabric in the world as well as producer of specialty yarns, both for its own fabrics and for sales to other fabric manufacturers. The company prospered in the 1990s. According to a March 22, 2006 account in The Herald News of Fall River:
With 2,400 employees, the local textile giant was Fall River’s largest private employer. As 1998 came to an end, the company announced its plan to build a 1.3 million square-foot plant at the southern end of Jefferson Street. The project would require 60 acres of land and, upon completion, would employ an additional 1,800 workers. Quaker planned to invest $36 million in the project.
However fortunes changed and from November 2003 to June 2007, the company shed some 1,700 jobs in Massachusetts. In October 2006 Quaker Fabric Corp. announced it was opening an upholstery fabric mill in China with partner Hangzhou Zhongwang Fabric Products Co. The mill was announced as a state-of-the-art fabric finishing and post-finishing plant slated to begin production in November 2006. [Herald News.]
Quaker lost money for several years and finally, on August 20, 2007, Quaker Fabrics filed for bankruptcy.
- National Textile Association Webpage http://www.nationaltextile.org/nta/history/quaker.htm. Accessed March 25, 2008.
- The Herald News, Fall River, Mass., October 21, 2006.
- http://www.answers.com/topic/quaker-fabric-corp?cat=biz-fin Quaker Fabric Corporation. Accessed March 25, 2008.