North Carolina’s privately owned companies will lose one of the oldest and largest of its ranks when Acme-McCrary is sold to MAS Holdings, a Sri Lanka-based apparel company that counts Lululemon, Nike and Victoria’s Secret as clients. The silver lining is that MAS plans to invest nearly $20 million to expand Acme-McCrary’s Asheboro facility, adding 133 jobs.
Founded as a lingerie company 30 years ago, privately owned MAS employs more than 85,000 people in 15 countries. Though it has a design office in New York, the Randolph County plant will be MAS’ first manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere.
Acme-McCrary was started in 1909 as a manufacturer of women’s hosiery. Amid changing trends in how women dress, the company added products such as tights and leggings, eventually striking a deal with Spanx, the Atlanta-based company started in 2000 by Sara Blakely that revolutionized women’s undergarments with its form-fitting, seamless apparel. The Asheboro company is owned by family and closely related parties.
In its 108 years, Acme-McCrary has been “an important employer and important part of the community,” says Bonnie Renfro, president of Randolph County Economic Development, with company leaders serving on the boards of the local hospital, community college and other groups. “They were among the first companies to establish a very robust employee wellness program,” she says, building in the 1940s a swimming pool for employees and a baseball stadium still used by local teams.
The deal was more than two years in the making, with leaders from both companies making numerous trips between Asheboro and Sri Lanka, an island nation of 20 million people near the southern tip of India. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“Both companies’ leaders have said they have similar ethics that take care of their people first,” Renfro says, and community response to the sale has been positive due to MAS’ planned investment and commitment to add and retain jobs. Acme-McCrary employs 374 people in the state, with 277 at the Asheboro plant and the remainder at a 400,000-square-foot Chatham County distribution center. The company also operates a plant in Honduras. Renfro said she expects President Donnie White and other company leaders to remain, with MAS bringing in two additional executives. The expansion is expected to generate new tax revenue of more than $300,000 each for the county and city over the next four years.
The company took great care to keep employees informed about the potential sale, Renfro says. “Folks are excited about it.”
GREENSBORO — VF will sell its licensed sports group business to Fanatics, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based sports apparel retailer. The sale includes VF’s Majestic uniforms, licensed by Major League Baseball through 2019, and accounts for about 5% of the company’s revenue. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
GREENSBORO — Omega Sports was acquired by Craig and Kristin Carlock for an undisclosed amount. The sporting-goods chain was founded in 1978 and has 14 locations in the state. Craig Carlock, who will become chief executive officer of Omega, was CEO of The Fresh Market grocery chain from 2009 to 2015.
CLEMMONS — Jeff McKay was named president of Sheffield Financial, a division of BB&T subsidiary Branch Banking and Trust that provides loans for motorcycles, snowmobiles and other outdoor vehicles and equipment. McKay, 53, has worked for BB&T since 1986. He succeeds Jeff Ellison, who became a loan administrator.