A downturn in orders for military uniforms may mean Brownwood Manufacturing, which makes uniforms and has a workforce of 125, may have to lay off employees or even close its doors by the end of September, plant manager Debbie Bird said.
“It depends on what happens between now and the end of September,” Bird said.
She said the company had been anticipating an order of 15,000 U.S. Navy dress blue jumpers as part of an ongoing five-year contract with the U.S. Government Defense Supply Center-Philadelphia.
Monday morning, Bird said the company had been told the government would not order the jumpers “due to funding.” Monday afternoon, though, Bird said she’d managed to talk to a government representative and “they’re going to try to get us an order” for 15,000 jumpers.
“I haven’t a clue” if the order will come through, Bird said. “I’m concerned for all these (employees).”
She said if the order doesn’t materialize, layoffs would start the first of August and go through the end of September, when the plant would potentially be closed.
Brownwood Manufactur-ing, at 1600 Custer Road in the Camp Bowie Industrial Park, has a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and maintains a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Comanche. It is owned by Sidran Inc. of Dallas.
“Obviously, it’s always distressing to see one of our employers go out of business,” Mayor Bert Massey said of the prospect of losing the company. “We’re very concerned about it.”
James Campbell, director of economic development for the City of Brownwood, said the company has had previous layoffs and was also closed before regaining contracts and reopening.
“This company is up and down,” Campbell said. In 2003, the company won the bid for a contract to produce the Navy jumpers.