GARLAND — The Brooks Brothers Factory Outlet in southern Sampson County is closing, according to the town’s mayor.
The store, located at 15 E. Front St. in Garland, was open for many years and sold a variety of shirts made by Brooks Brothers. In a public announcement, Garland Mayor Winifred Murphy expressed her disappointment about the closing.
“Today, April 24, 2018, the Garland Brooks Brothers Outlet will close its doors,” Murphy stated in a Facebook post, which she echoed in an email to The Independent on Tuesday. “We are so thankful for the many years that the Brooks Brothers Outlet has been a part of our business family. We have enjoyed their presence and the many visitors who have made Garland a destination spot, enhanced our local economy and put us on the map.”
Officials from Brooks Brothers did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent regarding the closing. Employees at the Garland location were unable to comment as well.
Over the years, outlet has helped the town’s economy when shoppers purchased gas and made stops at stores such as the Piggly Wiggly or enjoyed a meal at restaurants.
“This is a tremendous loss to our community,” Murphy said. “We must embrace change and work together to fill this void and continue to improve our town.”
But Murphy showed gratitude to Brooks Brothers, the outlets employees and Claudio Del Vecchio, chief executive officer of Brooks Brothers.
Garland is also home to the Brooks Brothers’ Garland Shirt Factory, which will remain intact. More than 200 people are employed at the location, which produces a classic oxford shirt. According to an article from the New York Times, a link to which accompanied Murphy’s post, Garland’s is the only domestic Brooks Brothers factory operating at a loss. Some of the other factories located domestically include one in Haverhill, Mass., a producer of items such as men’s suits and sport coats; and a tie-making facility on Long Island, N.Y.
In the report, Del Vecchio said he’s aware that closing the Garland factory would have an effect on the livelihoods of half the town.
“Many of these decisions we make are with that in mind,” Del Vecchio said in the article. “We keep saying every year this is the year we aren’t going to lose money, so that’s the reason to keep trying to improve. But until the day I can’t afford it, we won’t close it.”
Murphy showed appreciation for that consideration.
“Thank you again Mr. Del Vecchio for realizing and understanding the impact of what the closure of this plant would mean for many individuals in our community,” Murphy said. “We must continue to support, to pray, and to work towards the improvement of our economy, infrastructure, and societal needs — together.”
Locally, Brooks Brothers also has a presence in Clinton with a distribution center located on Warsaw Road. It provides jobs to 50 full-time employees and 30 part-time employees.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.