Darn Tough Cuts the Ribbon on a New Knitting Facility, and Jobs, in Waterbury, Vermont
WATERBURY – Darn Tough is trying its best to keep up with the explosive growth it has seen over the past five years while remaining in Vermont.
With that in mind the company opened a new sock knitting facility in Waterbury Thursday that will increase production by 35% when it’s fully up and running early next year.
“Our new Waterbury facility not only increases the amount of socks we produce, but brings new job opportunities that help further strengthen our local community,” Darn Tough President and CEO Ric Cabot said in opening remarks before touring the building, a former Green Mountain Coffee plant.
Darn Tough made in America
Darn Tough started in 2004 in Northfield, where it still produces most of its socks. The company will have a total of about 400 employees by the end of the year, according to Mark Yardley, vice president of global sales. By the end of 2022, Yardley said, Darn Tough expects to add another 60 employees, for a total of 460.
The sock company has been growing by more than 30% annually for the last five years, according to Yardley, which has triggered “a lot of conversations” about how to continue to find employees during a critical shortage of labor nationwide.
“It’s hard, this year alone we added 160 people,” Yardley said. “But think about it. All the other great businesses in Vermont are fighting for those same employees. We’re a small state. Everybody keeps elevating their starting wages, the benefits and the bonuses.”
The starting wage at Darn Tough is $16 per hour.
‘We’re going to keep making socks’
Chief Operating Officer Brent Blevins said the 30,000-square-foot Waterbury facility has room for 350 of the Italian-made knitting machines Darn Tough uses to make its socks.