A Grinnell company has closed its doors after a century-and-a-half of business. Delong Sportswear has closed its doors. The 150 year old company was the largest privately owned maker of school and collegiate award jackets, sports outerwear and team headwear in the United States.
Upwards of 150 employees were affected by the closure. The company has made no announcement as to the reason for the closure…but a notice of lien has been filed with the Poweshiek County Recorder. It is from the Iowa Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance Services tax bureau collection section and concerns an unpaid demand for payment of more than $275,000 and a subsequent lien filed against the company’s property. The document indicates the lien has been claimed in favor of the state of Iowa.
At least one of Delong’s competitors — and a former employee –isn’t celebrating the situation. Lance Dreesman is one of the owners of Rock Creek Athletics, which is also based in Grinnell. Dreesman says when you work at a place for 17 years, you develop very good friendships, and he says they remained over the 13 years since he started his business. Dreesman says he hopes the employees of Delong find new jobs in Grinnell.
Dreesman hopes to give some of those Delong employees a job — but it will depend on how many orders come into his company. Dreesman says they have to decide how many jackets they can make in the busy season, and then determine how many they can take in pre-booking orders. Dreesman says Rock Creek Athletics is keeping its 35 employees busy and now he expects things to get busier.
Dreesman says when you have someone as big as Delong with most of the market share in the award jacket field, a lot of companies will try to pick up that business. Dreesman says Rock Creek Athletics isn’t looking to pick up all of Delong’s customers saying they don’t want to expand too fast.