The local newspaper, The Cedar Springs Clipper, owned and edited by "The Clipper Gals" Nina Babcock and Grace Hamilton, answered the writer with the RED HOT editorial stating: " Just because Sak's Fifth Avenue does not carry red flannels, it doesn't follow that no one in the country does. CEDAR SPRINGS' merchants have red flannels". The story was picked up by the Associated Press and orders began pouring in from all over the USA!
1949 saw the true start of the red flannel manufacturing with Mae Oppeneer stitching undies in her home and in 1952, the business became known as the Francis Lee Red Flannel Factory. Soon, the business grew into an industry, underwear was now being stitched on machines at the Cedar Springs Red Flannel Factory.
Sadly, the factory suffered some setbacks over the years and in 1994 closed with the headlines predicting "No red flannels in '95". However, local business women kept red flannel production going in Cedar Springs because they believed that red flannels were just too important to fade away. Through the efforts of seventeen seamstresses, family, and friends, there were red flannels not only in '95 but every year since.
In 2007, the company was purchased by one of the seamstresses in an effort to keep the red flannel spirit alive. The company will be called the Red Flannel Factory once more. With wholesale and internet tools, Red Flannel Factory, LLC hopes to cover the world in red flannels!
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