“All my future is riding on this.”
Montreal businessman Michael Penner said that to me in the summer of 2014 while trying to save a sock factory in Burke County, North Carolina.
The gambit required importing a fleet of fancy sewing machines from Italy that left the factory floor a lonelier place than it was before the Great Recession. Still, he kept about 100 people working, while finding a way to make a consistent profit. That’s when Gildan Activewear Inc. came along with an offer that Penner couldn’t refuse, purchasing the company — Peds Legwear Inc. — for US$55 million in 2016.
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