Alatex dedication is Thursday

Published 12:04 am Saturday, October 20, 2012


A dedication ceremony for the Alatex Monument Park and the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce’s new home in the former Alatex corporate headquarters is set for 10:30 a.m. Thurs., Oct. 25.

Former Alatex president Fred H. Rhinehardt will be the special guest speaker.

Alatex, which once owned factories in Andalusia, Troy, Crestview, Elba, Opp, Brantley, and Panama City, Fla., was organized by John G. Scherf in Andalusia in 1923.

Thousands of people worked in the textile company, which through the years produced work and military shirts, pants and underwear. But its primary product was dress shirts, produced for Arrow and for department stores. At its peak in 1971, the company produced more than 10 million shirts.

Alatex was acquired by Cluett, Peabody and Co. in 1968, and went through several mergers and acquisitions in the ensuing years. Biderman, S.A. closed Alatex operations in Andalusia in 1992.

Twenty years later, the corporate headquarters has been restored a public-private partnership between the City of Andalusia, which owns the building, and the Chamber of Commerce, which helped renovate the facility and will occupy it.

The site includes a memorial brick walk, and will be home to a monument to the many textile workers once employed there – a giant starched white shirt fabricated by William Merrill of Metal Fabrication. The shirt is to be set in place on Monday.

A history of the company has been prepared by Bill Hamiter, a former vice president of operations for Alatex who chaired the memorial committee.

The magazine-style history will be available at Thursday’s event.