The story of Faribault Woolen Mills is one of resilience and perseverance. Started over 150 years ago, the Minnesota-based mill has made hundreds of thousands of blankets for the military, survived wars, a fire, and become a favorite among the craft crowd recently. But it hasn’t been easy.
As this New York Times piece details, the recession was one of the biggest challenges for the mill. It left Fairibualt Woolen Mills, like so many companies, in a tight situation. Before, in ’99, the family-owned mill was sold to an investment group, leaving it ripe for cost-cutting. “The mill went dark for 18 months in 2009 and 2010, and liquidators tagged its looms for shipment overseas. All its workers were laid off.”
Then two cousins, Minnesota businessmen, stepped in and bought the factory. Laid off workers were brought back on, positions were added, and they focused on producing the staples. Now the mill is back in a family, and orders are up.
Aside from this story of resilience though, and even more importantly, Fairbault just makes great quality wool products. The wool blankets are my favorite, but they make scarves and other pieces as well. They've done a few solid collaborations in the past few years and there's a good chance you've seen their products, perhaps without knowing. If it's getting cold where you live, I hope you have a good wool blanket to throw over yourself. If not, look no further.
See more at faribaultmill.com.