When Ramseur’s Sam Rankin was a pilot during World War II, flying “the hump” known as India, Burma, China, he did not know what the future held for him. He knew the industry was ready for expansion.
1946 August 4, 1946, Sam purchased six knitting machines on GI priority rating, and with three employees (Frank Bodsford, Cleo Brown and himself), set up shop in the basement of the Carter Mercantile Building in downtown Ramseur. Production began in November. Rankin was knitter-fixer on the first shift, and Frank and Cleo each handled one of the other shifts.
1953 Physical plant moved to an old service station building on the outskirts of town at Franklinville Road. Later, this humble beginning was named Plant One, and expanded to 70,000 square feet.
Sam Rankin 1968
Sam Rankin 1986 celebrating 40 years of business
1968 – A second plant on Patterson Grove Road opened with 40,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage space. The two plants totaled 180-190 employees with an annual payroll of about $1 million and a total 311 machines. Machines included: 114 interlock, 45 plain jersey, 32 fancy jersey, 94 rib and 26 “V” bed machines. Business included underwear, outerwear and industrial fabrics knit from cotton, wool, nylon, polyester and blends. Approximately 10 million pounds of knit goods per year were produced. Mr. Rankin was the only salesman.
1986 – The 40th anniversary was celebrated with a party for all employees at Carowinds, the amusement park near Charlotte. It took 11 chartered buses and more than 80 automobiles to carry the 582 guests. There are 560 knitting machines in operation and 315 employees. The two plants total 290,000 square feet. Sam, Sr., and son, Sam Jr., are the only salespeople.
- The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, NC, September 27, 1968.
- The Randolph Guide, Asheboro, NC, August 6, 1986, p1