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Courtney Visits American Woolen As Long Dormant Spinning Machines Return To Action And Produce Fabric For The U.S. Navy

August 17, 2016
Press Release

NORWICH, C.T. —Yesterday, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) toured American Woolen, a company he helped to facilitate purchase of the shuttered Warren Mill complex in Stafford Springs in 2014. Courtney watched as the company turned on wool carding and spinning machines that have been dormant for more than twelve-years since before the former Warren Mill had closed. While American Woolen has been manufacturing fine worsted and woolen fabrics with spun wool from other sources for several years, this will mark the first time the company has been able to spin wool fiber in-house. With the new capability to spin wool fiber, the company will start to produce fabric that will be used to manufacture pea coats for the U.S. Navy.

Rep. Courtney with Jacob Harrison Long, CEO of American Woolen, during a tour of the company on August 15. (Photo courtesy: Office of Congressman Joe Courtney) Additional photos available upon request.

Rep. Courtney with Jacob Harrison Long, CEO of American Woolen, during a tour of the company on August 15. (Photo courtesy: Office of Congressman Joe Courtney) Additional photos available upon request.

“American Woolen is true success story for eastern Connecticut,” said Courtney. “Just three years ago, the Warren Mill was sitting empty and unused after the former owner was forced to shutter the company. Now, we have a thriving company once again occupying the space just as the market for made-in-America garments is growing in popularity. With the restoration of the legacy machines to spin wool fiber, the company will be now be able to add the U.S. Navy to its growing list of clients which includes several high-profile national brands. The turnaround of this mill has been incredible, and better than we could have ever imagined just a few years ago. Back in 2013, my District Director Ayanti Grant worked with the prior owner and the State of Connecticut to facilitate a quick transaction to put American Woolen in control of the property.

“I want to thank the CEO of American Woolen, Jacob Harrison Long, for the opportunity to share in this milestone yesterday. Jacob’s incredible leadership and dynamic vision for American Woolen have resurrected this company and have it set on a path for future success.”

Jacob Harrison Long, Chief Executive Officer of American Woolen, said: “Rep. Courtney was instrumental in American Woolen’s pursuit of the Warren Mill complex. His insight to the underlying value of Warren helped to shape our investment program. When public support is combined with private funding, great things can happen.”

American Woolen purchased the former Warren Mill site and relaunched its manufacturing operations in 2014.  Since then, the company has been expanding its private sector business and has acquired several well-known clients including J. Crew, Hickey Freeman and Bonobos. The company will now begin to offer full wool fiber to fabric capabilities for the US Navy’s pea coat program.

American Woolen’s opportunity with the U.S. Navy is a direct result of the ‘Berry Amendment’, a pre-World War II law which stipulates that the U.S. Military must purchase garments made in America – which Congressman Courtney supports.

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