Polartec to invest $10 million, add 150 jobs in Cleveland

Polar fleece maker relocates production from Massachusetts to Tennessee

Polartec President Gary Smith, right talks with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. R-Tenn., at the company's new plant in Cleveland, Tennessee.
photo Polartec President Gary Smith.

Polartec, best known for inventing polar fleece for companies like Patagonia, The North Face and LL Bean, is relocating part of its textile manufacturing operations from Lawrence, Massachusetts to Cleveland, Tennessee and adding nearly 150 jobs.

Polartec bought United Knitting Mills in Cleveland last fall and has already doubled the plant's staff and expects to add even more workers in the next year. Polartec, the successor company to the 110-year-old Maldin Mills in New England, is investing nearly $10 million in the Cleveland plant and expects to have 200 employees at the mill by next year.

Gary Smith, the president of Polartec, said United Knitting Mills was a supplier to Polartec and the 175,000 square-foot plant offered Polartec room and staff to grow its business "in a very business friendly environment."