KaDi Apparel, Nephi's newest sewing plant, has closed its doors at least temporarily.
The plant opened a few weeks ago with eight employees and a contract to produce 16,000 pairs of women's shorts for Ocean Pacific Co. of Los Angeles. Last week the company laid off 30 employees.Partners in the company are Karin Robb and Dixie Sperry, who opened the plant after Pacific Mountain Industries closed.
Both companies were located in the Mickelson building in Nephi. The building also housed a Catalina sewing plant before it closed. Pacific Mountain Industries closed when it couldn't get 200-300 experienced sewing machine operators.
Hopes were high Pacific Mountain Industries, owned by Shades of California, Los Angeles, would remain in the city. The owners planned to build their own sewing plant in the city, but they could not get enough experienced operators quickly enough even though a $2 per day traveling fee was paid to those operators who commuted to Nephi.
The city tried to help attract workers by placing ads in regional newspapers, said Mayor Boyd Park. However, the company began to send less work to Nephi because it needed more workers. It had a monthly payroll of $70,000 and employed 10 men and 77 women at the time of closure.
Kayser-Roth division of Catalina Sportswear operated the plant from 1973 until it closed in 1985 after Catalina officials said the items made there could no longer compete with foreign imports. Mickelson Enterprises then ran the facility as Nephi Contract Sewing for 13 months closing the plant in February 1987. Potential Sportswear opened the plant in August 1987. In October Pacific Mountain Enterprises began operations at the plant.
Robb and Sperry closed the KaDi plant since they have completed the sewing contract they had to make shorts.
"Now is a really slow time," said Robb. The plant may reopen in a couple of months, she said.
Another California company is coming to Nephi this month to look at the building and may open the plant again.
Nephi has another sewing company, U-Amercian, where baseball-style caps are made by 30 people.