Polartec celebrates 5,000 years of service

Last week at Polartec’s plant in Lawrence, Mass., we honored 153 dedicated employees who have worked with us for 25 years or more. In all, we calculated those employees have provided over 5,000 collective years of service to Polartec, through good times and bad. The Eagle Valley Tribune, our local paper, ran this nice congratulatory story about our incredible team.

Our view: Congratulations to long-time Polartec workers

It has been a long and very bumpy road for Polartec, the iconic Lawrence textile company known for generations as Malden Mills.

But its continuing presence in the city is a tribute not only to the quality of its products and the tenacity of its owners, but the tenacity of its employees as well.

More than 150 of its employees who have worked at the company for more than 25 years were honored last week with a series of luncheons, certificates and gift bags with — what else? — fleece jackets and catalogs to order other company products.

Among the honorees was Joyce Cegelis, who went to work just out of high school, not quite 18 years old, and is still there 50 years later, at age 68.

Going to work, she says, is like “coming home.”

At one of those luncheons, Polartec Human Resources Director Kathy Skala, said that the 50 employees being honored had a combined 1,700 years of service.

They have persisted through tough times. A catastrophic fire destroyed several buildings in 1995, but the company, under former owner and President Aaron Feuerstein, rebuilt. Then, in 2001, it declared bankruptcy and Feuerstein was forced out.

In 2006 it suffered damage from the Mother’s Day floods. And in 2007, in financial trouble again, it was purchased by a newly formed company, Polartec LLC.

After all that, Polartec still employs 900 people and enjoys fierce loyalty from many of them, who say they are treated like family. That, of course, is because the people are the company.

Congratulations to Polartec and its people for not only surviving, but thriving once again.

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