Clothing Manufacturing Plant Makes Dramatic Turnaround

Workers at the old "Swingster" plant in Ocean Springs will celebrate the New Year with some newfound confidence in their company.

The clothing manufacturing facility was supposed to shutdown over the summer. Instead, company leaders found some innovative ways to develop new business opportunities.

The sewing machines are still humming as workers at Dunbrooke Industries put together two thousand jackets a week.

Back in April, Arlene Toche thought she'd soon be looking for another job. At the time, executives announced the plant would be shutting down.

"We kind of thought that was the end. And it looks like it's getting better. And we're grateful for that," said Toche.

Cherly Bosarge is also thankful for the turnaround.

"Well, it's a good thing that we still have our jobs," said Bosarge.

American Identity decided not to close up shop. But the scare prompted company leaders to look for other opportunities.

Focusing on product distribution is perhaps the most promising opportunity.

Roger May oversees the distribution area of the plant.

"This is raw product here. Anything you see these little green stickers on is raw product going to Mexico. All the stuff in the boxes back on the floor, that you see the round stickers on, that's finished product going to customers," explained May.

The distribution part of the business is already showing the promise of growth. Instead of talking layoffs, the company may be adding up to 20 workers next year.

"I'm very hopeful. I'm very hopeful. I feel like we have a good solid year to develop ourselves and to get this new business going. And to learn more about the distribution side of the economy," said plant manager, Steve Riera.

Riera says the distribution success can help sustain the manufacturing side.

And that's added job security for folks like Arlene Toche.

"We're hoping. And a few little prayers here and there," said Toche.