The Herald News, Friday, August 4, 2017 – Page B1
By Kevin P. O’Connor
Fall River – Their growing textile business needed strong workers and even stronger floors. Where else would you start looking if not Fall River, Paul Gutowski asked.
And, of course, they found what they needed in the city.
Gehring-Tricot of Dolgeville, New York, leased the 164,000-square-foot building at 1450 Brayton Ave., to produce fabrics for its subsidiary, Tweave, of Norton.
“Fall River is known for textiles, even here in New York,” Gutowski said. “We like Fall River. This location is a better draw for Fall River workers, who know how to make textiles. “We are outgrowing the place we are in now,” Gutowski said. “We’ll move, gradually, into the new space because we can’t shut down production at the main plant.
“They are setting up machines now. There are three machines in Fall River. As soon as they are running, we’ll start production.”
Tweave produces fabrics that can be used for highperformance sports gear. The company specializes in fabric that stretches in four directions and also offers protection for athletes from the cold, the heat, the sun and the rain. Gehring-Tricot concentrates on specialized fabrics for military and public safety use. Some of that will also be produced in Fall River, Gutowski said. It took a while for the company to find what it needed for mill space, Gutowski said. “Weaving machines need strong floors,” he said. “The concrete floors in most industrial buildings aren’t strong enough.”
The building fit the company needs and the city has a ready workforce, he said.
“We started working with them in April or May,” said Ken Fiola, executive vice president of the Bristol County EDC. “They were looking to expand and they were looking all through this area.”
Bristol County EDC staff told company officials about the building on Brayton Avenue, which was once used by Quaker Fabric Corp.
“They visited the site and liked it,” Fiola said. “It is a free-standing, single-level building.
It fit their needs exactly.”
The growth of the facility on Brayton Avenue will depend on the demand for the fabric, Gutowski said.
“Currently, there are about 48 jobs at the Norton plant,” he said. “We would hope, over time, we’ll be able to add more equipment and grow the business in Fall River. We’d also like to be able to bring in work we now farm out to other companies.” Gutowski said the company does not yet know how many employees it will have in Fall River in the immediate future. A lot will depend on the work flow in Norton and the ability to dismantle and move machinery from that plant to Brayton Avenue.
“We can’t shut down production,” he said. “We have to pay for this somehow.”