News

Our Opinion: Kontoor fits here like a pair of old jeans

When three executives from the freshly minted Kontoor Brands paid a visit last week, they came dressed in denim and steeped in optimism.

They were bullish about their company, which was part of a more familiar company, VF Jeanswear, before it was spun off last year.

They see sales ticking up and new possibilities for their marquee brands, Wrangler and Lee, which will remain separate.

And most encouraging, they see a bright future in Greensboro, which they have embraced warmly and unequivocally as their hometown.

They say they like it here because of Wrangler’s deep roots in Greensboro.

They also consider this city a good place to live and raise a family, with reasonably priced housing and manageable traffic.

And they not only want to be in Greensboro, they want to be partof Greensboro.

See the rest on News & Record >

Native Greensboro artist returns home to Revolution Mill studio

I’ve watched Jan Lukens stick to his goals for years despite the many twists and turns his career has taken. We were studying commercial art and advertising design in 1978 when he took a job as an art director for an ad agency. In 1980, after working for a few agencies, he began freelancing as a graphic designer and then as an illustrator until 1992 when he left advertising after feeling burned out.

Lukens had an idea that people who owned horses would be interested in paintings of their horses. He called a dressage trainer who referred him to Parker Minshin, who not only invited him to her stables but also helped him select, groom and pose horses for his reference photography. “That was my first break, back in 1992,” Lukens said. “I did several spec paintings, framed them, printed up business cards and became a horse show vendor.”

Yet, he left his first two shows in Blowing Rock and Asheville with no commissions. 

When Lukens visited his friend, Pattie Harris Boden, an art director who rode hunters (a type of horse in competitive horseback riding), she noted that few horse painters could paint people as well as he did and suggested he paint a girl with a horse. Minshin was happy to have him paint her 12-year-old daughter, Jennifer, with her hunter. This painting landed him three commissions at a Raleigh horse show and a new client, Joanne Boyd.

Lukens recalled the day he photographed Boyd with her horse, “she liked my work and said if I came to Birmingham, Alabama, she’d throw a cocktail party and invite her equestrian friends.” Three months later, Lukens left that party with 13 portrait commissions. 

“That’s when I realized I could make a career out of this,” he said. “I owe my success in equestrian portraiture to a handful of generous, influential people who just wanted to help me succeed. Parker and Joanne were the first.” He added, “I enjoyed the equestrian community, painting portraits, and being outside with the horses. My new career really suited me.”

Read the rest on Yes! Weekly >>

Part Of VF Corp. Moving To Revolution Mill In Greensboro

GREENSBORO (WFMY) - VF Corporation has selected Greensboro’s Revolution Mill as the new home for parts of its Jeanswear business. In August, VF announced it was creating an independent, publicly traded company, currently called 'NewCo,' which comprises VF's Jeans brands including Wrangler and Lee.

VF has signed a five-year lease with Revolution Mill. Around 125 U.S. NewCo employees will move into the 43,000 square-foot space in the former textile mill beginning in March 2019. 

“We are making great progress in our work to establish the Jeanswear business as its own publicly traded company, and today’s announcement is another important milestone as we move toward the separation in the first half of 2019,” said Steve Rendle, VF’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Revolution Mill is a historical property that honors the Greensboro community’s storied textile heritage. It’s only fitting that our Jeanswear organization will locate select functions there and help to continue the rich history and legacy of the Revolution Mill campus.”

In August, VF announced it's moving its global headquarters from Greensboro to Denver. The Denver headquarters will also become home to VF brands such as The North FaceJanSportSmartwoolAltra and Eagle Creek.

The official name of NewCo will be announced by the end of 2018. NewCo will employ approximately 25,000 employees globally.

See the rest on WFMY >>

VF spinoff taps Wrangler building for HQ, but some functions are bound for Revolution Mill

VF spinoff taps Wrangler building for HQ, but some functions are bound for Revolution Mill

The jeanswear spinoff company of VF Corp., temporarily named "NewCo," will move certain functions into 43,000 square feet at Revolution Mill in Greensboro. 

VF made the announcement Thursday.

NewCo will be a publicly traded company consisting of the Lee, Wrangler and Outlet brands. VF announced the spinoff in August, when it also announced it would be moving its global headquarters from Greensboro to Denver. 

The jeanswear company will have its headquarters at 400 N. Elm St., the current home of the Wrangler brand, VF said. 

The company signed a five-year lease at Revolution Mill – a former textile mill north of downtown Greensboro owned and redeveloped into a mixed-use complex by nonprofit community development organization Self-Help. 

The anticipated move-in timeframe is March 2019. 

NewCo will put merchandising, design and product development and innovation functions in the space that will house 125 NewCo employees. 

Triad Business Journal previously reported that there have been rumors that VF was considering locating functions in the mill complex. 

VF said minimal upfits are needed. 

"As we begin our NewCo journey, Revolution Mill is the ideal space to create an inspiring, creative working environment for our employees," said Scott Baxter, the appointed CEO of NewCo. "We're excited about what this space will offer our employees and brands, and we look forward to joining the vibrant community that exists on the Revolution Mill campus."

See the rest on Triad Business Journal >>

The Faces of Revolution

oh_doodad_11-18.jpg

When painter Suellen McCrary moved her studio to Greensboro’s Revolution Mill two years ago, curious walk-ins included folks who remembered the workspace from another era when the mill turned out flannel from 1898 to 1982.

“They had all kind of stories to tell,” says McCrary, who specializes in portraits. “Some of them said they’d worked there, or their grandparents had worked there.”

To honor that history, McCrary pitched a project to the mill’s current owner, Durham-based Self-Help Ventures Fund, which acquired the complex in 2012.

In return for a monthly stipend, McCrary would spend two years painting oil-on-panel portraits of 25 people connected to the mill, whether they’d worked on machines bolted to the maple floor, handled clerical duties, or lived in the mill village. 

At the end of the project, the portraits would join the permanent historical collection at the mill, now a hive of live-work-play development.

The portrait subjects would receive free prints of their likenesses, making possible an otherwise costly keepsake. The price of an original oil portrait can range from $3,000 to six figures.

“I was looking for a way to democratize portraiture,” says McCrary, who solicited subjects on a Facebook page called Cone Mills Villages — My Family’s History.

A dozen former Revolution employees have reached out to her, and she has completed a few portraits, but she wants to round up more applicants.

“I would love to get a cross section,” says McCrary, 60, who grew up in Greensboro and attended Page High School with the children of mill families, though she didn’t personally know them at the time.

Now living in High Point, McCrary hopes to capture the faces and stories of her schoolmates’ families while there’s still time. She recently painted 101-year-old Dorothy Sheppard Davis Brewer, a former mill inspector.

“This is a generation that’s passing, so I’ve got to get moving,” says McCrary. — Maria Johnson OH

Contact Suellen McCrary at smccrary4@gmail.com or (336) 848-3900. She’ll post progress shots of the project on her Instagram account, @suellenmccraryart.

See the article on O. Henry >>