Sage Automotive Interiors Announces Closure of Avalon Plant

Sage Automotive Interiors has announced the closure of its Avalon Plant on Historic Highway 17. Sage has operated yarn texturing and warping operations in Toccoa since 2009. 

In a press release issued by the company yesterday, April 29, company officials stated that “The closure is an unfortunate yet necessary step to retain cost competitiveness in the automotive industry. Operations are expected to wind down by November 2024.”

According to the official, required WARN notice on the closure of the Avalon Plant, it is identified that approximately 140 employees at the plant will be laid off  by November 30 due to the closure. Layoffs will occur in monthly stages beginning June 30.

However, the press release issued by Sage stated “Sage is offering every affected associate continued employment at one of its remaining four United States manufacturing locations.”

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. According to the WARN Act, “…the Act provides protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs. Advance notice provides workers and their families some transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain alternative jobs and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to successfully compete in the job market. WARN also provides for notice to State dislocated worker units so that dislocated worker assistance can be promptly provided.”

According to the release, overall production capacity for Sage Automotive Interiors will not be affected by the closure. Production capability and capacity from the Avalon plant will be consolidated into Sage’s South Carolina operations.

On March 26, in industry publication “Textile World” announced that long-time Sage Automotive Interiors President and CEO Chris Heard would retire on March 31, and announced that Dan Russian, a University of Tennessee alumnus with a degree in Industrial Engineering, would step into Heard’s position and President and CEO. Russian’s tenure with the company began as a shift manager in 1990.

According to the Textile article, Russian was part of the team that, in 2009, created Sage Automotive Interiors from Milliken’s Automotive Division. He became vice president, Europe during a five-year Assignment in Europe where he lived in Germany and Italy, helping to integrate new Sage acquisitions. Upon return to the United States, Russian became Vice President, Sales & Marketing/Americas.

According to company documents, Sage currently has approximately $1 billion in annual revenue and operates on five continents with 5,000 employees globally.

Russian, at the time of his appointment as President and CEO, stated, “Sage Automotive Interiors is well positioned for the future. We are strategically positioned to continue growth globally and maintain our position as the #1 preferred supplier to the automotive interior industry.”

In November 2023, The South Carolina Governor’s Office announced that Sage Automotive Interiors was expanding its Sharon Plant in Abbeville County with a $10.45 million investment that would create 95 new jobs.