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Renfro Corporation (Renfro Hosiery Mills)

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  • photograph of men inside Renfro Hosiery Mill

    photograph of men inside Renfro Hosiery Mill. Front Row - Walter Combs, T.C. Barber, W.E. Merritt Jr., Back Row - W.A. Smith, G.C. Brannock, C.S. Brannock, Roscoe Davis
  • envelope from Renfro Hosiery Mill Company

    envelope from Renfro Hosiery Mill Company
  • Pay Envelope from Renfro Hosiery Mills Corporation to Maud Davenport

    Pay Envelope from Renfro Hosiery Mills Corporation to Maud Davenport dated April 24, 1926
  • Pay Envelope from Renfro Hosiery Mills Corporation to Maud Davenport

    Pay Envelope from Renfro Hosiery Mills Company to Maud Davenport dated January 16, 1926
  • Letter from Robert Merritt to Employees of the Renfro Hosiery Mills Company

    Letter from Robert Merritt to Employees of the Renfro Hosiery Mills Company after the Flood of 1979
  • Flood of 79 newspaper

    Newspaper produced by Renfro Hosiery Mills Corporation detailing in photographs the flood of September 21, 1979. Photographs were taken by Renfro Corporation President, Robert E. Merritt TO: Our Employees THE FLOOD OF '79 Friday, September 21, we had an unusually heavy and persistent rainstorm in Mount Airy. On the slopes of the mountains north of here it totaled 7 1/2 inches. With the ground already saturated by earlier showers, Friday's downpour overflowed the streams that lead in to Mount Airy- the Ararat River on the east and Lovill's Creek on the west. By midnight the Ararat River was level with the floor of our Riverside Plant and main office, which is 3 feet above the highest previously recorded flood. The water kept rising like a gentle tide, and by 2:00a.m. it was 5 feet deep in our plant and office. After three more hours the tide had receded below the level of the parking lot. Miraculously no one drowned, but property damage in Surry County exceeded $40 million. Renfro's loss came to $1,700,000. I had my camera with me for the next two weeks as we cleaned up and got back into production. This sequence of photographs was printed to give you a record of these two weeks. The photograph above, looking like a white island surrounded by a beautiful lake, was made at 3 o'clock Saturday morning. At this time the rain had stopped, and the flood had subsided a foot or more from its crest. At first we did not realize the full extent of the damage. When the final count was in, we had hauled 250,000 dozen socks to the landfill. Our computer was a total loss, as was most of our office furniture, and there was damage to our building and equipment. The flood and the damage broke all records, but I will remember most concern and the efforts of hundreds of people who pulled together to get us back into business. Here were some of the events: Monday morning, September 24. Our office was open for business in temporary quarters across town. Every paycheck would be delivered on time, if slightly damp and prepared by hand rather than by machine. Friday, September 28. The partitions in the office had been ripped out, and enough new ones installed to enclose a rented computer which was on its way. Sunday, September 30. One boiler and three dye tubs were running. Shortly afterwards, several boarding machines were going, and by the end of this second week production was flowing through the plant. Friday, October 5. We shipped 7,000 dozen. Our recovery didn't end with those first shipments. By then we were two weeks behind, and orders were coming in faster than we could ship. Now, eight weeks after the flood, we are shipping over 100,000 dozen a week and reducing the backlog of unshipped orders. Robert E. Merritt President Renfro Corporation Mount Airy, N. C. 27023 November 15, 1979