One small town sock maker’s fight to keep jobs and make it in a different America

FORT PAYNE, Ala. – If you go back roughly 15 years, there was a good chance the socks on your feet were made by an American worker in this mountainous pocket of northeast Alabama. During the peak of America’s hosiery industry through the 1990s, roughly 7,800 people worked at one of 150 sock mills in Fort Payne, known as the “Sock Capital of the World.” Mills dotted Airport Road. “It was just constant traffic. I remember that as a kid, and it was great energy,” said Gina Locklear, a local entrepreneur. “It’s changed now.”

One small town sock maker’s fight to keep jobs and make it in a different America