All-American company L.C. King makes masks in America
BRISTOL, Tennessee -- There is not one thing in the jeans, flannel-lined jackets, denim jackets, overalls, shirts, carpenter pants, custom uniforms or masks produced by L.C. King Manufacturing that is not made in America.
Nothing -- not even the threads or the rivets.
"All the components, the raw materials, are purchased in the United States and are actually manufactured in the United States," explains Jack King, who represents the fourth generation in his family to helm the cut-and-sew facility.
"We pride ourselves on providing the customer a 100% made-in-the-USA, workwear garment that we cut and sew," King says with the pride of someone who has earned it.
They have two brands, Pointer Brand and their trademark, L.C. King, and four kinds of customers: "We have your typical internet retail customer that goes directly to our website. We also have mom-and-pop wholesale customers for the mom-and-pop retails, general stores that still exist primarily in southeast USA. Thirdly, we have city boutiques that carry our stuff for the hipster seeking a unique garment that is not fast fashion. And then our fourth customer is industrial, where we make a coverall or workwear garment for that particular facility."
For those two trademarks, they make workwear garments, primarily unlined chore jackets, five-pocket jeans, carpenter jeans, barn coats, high-back overalls and low-back overalls.
When the coronavirus hit, King sprang into action the only way he knows how: making things. This time, it was masks. As he sees it, it's a great story. And he's not wrong.
"Our local electric company ... called me up and said, 'Jack, we need a face mask for our electrical installers in Bristol, Tennessee. They have an idea of what they want it to look like,'" he said. "I called up one of my sewers and asked her to meet me here at the factory. She met me here, and we made one."
"After we made it three different times, the electric company signed off on it then said, 'We would like to buy 500.' You see, it just so happened that I had this fabric we were going to make shorts for a customer that canceled their order, so I had this fantastic 100% cotton, blue twill that you can make a face mask out of. I called up four of my sewers back into the factory, and these four sewers made these 500 face masks for the electric company."
This was the ultimate repurpose during an era that has strained our normally purpose-driven lives.