Kayser-Roth Closing after 105 Years in Business

Kayser Roth
Kayser-Roth Corporation located on North Broadyway.( Photo by Dean Wilson)

Long time Dayton manufacturing plant Kayser-Roth closing; impacts 90 employees

A Dayton, Tennessee manufacturing plant, Kayser-Roth Corporation located on North Broadway, has announced to its 90 employees that they will be permanently closing their doors. It’s the news that no employer ever wants to have to deliver to their employees. The company has been in business since 1913.

In a phone interview today, Kayser Roth Plant Manager Bob Wisener did confirm to Rhea Review that the plant is being phased out. According to Wisener, during the phaseout, employees will continue to work throughout September and October. Deciding to close was not an easy task nor taken lightly by management. Plant Manager Wisener stated “As with everything in business, it’s all about the orders. The textile industry has been hit hard over the last several years, causing orders to drop, without them, there is no way of surviving.” This is a very difficult thing to go through for both the management and the employees of Kayser Roth. “We are like a family here, I certainly am honored to have been a long-time employee of this plant.” said Wisener.

The Company began as the “Dayton Hosiery Mill” in 1913 with the first products manufactured being men’s socks. In 1946, the Chester H. Roth Company of New York purchased the plant and the main operation of the plant was converted to the manufacturing of children’s and misses’ anklets.

In 1955, the Chester H. Roth Company purchased the “Graysville Hosiery Mill” and moved all knitting operations to that plant’s location on Main Street in Dayton.

Just a few short years later in 1958, the Chester H. Roth Company merged with the Julius Kayser Company to form the Kayser-Roth Hosiery, Inc. Expansions in the early 1960’s led to the company to combine the operations of the knitting and finishing departments which were moved to the current Broadway location. In the mid 70’s, the plant had expanded to house the current floor space we know today. Kayser-Roth Corporation at one time employed over 200 people.

Kayser Roth
Kayser-Roth located on North Broadway in the late 1960’s. (Photo Courtesy Cunnyngham-Wilson Collection)

As the news of the closing reached the community today, Dayton’s Mayor Gary Louallen reminisced growing up and having many relatives that had worked at the plant. He stated that the City of Dayton certainly appreciates Kayser-Roth Corporation for all that is has done for the citizens of Dayton throughout all the years.

Rhea County ETC Director Dennis Tumlin stated, “We are always saddened anytime one of our businesses closes. Kayser-Roth has been a great employer for many Rhea Countians over the last 105 years. They weathered the great recession and kept hosiery manufacturing domestic when it was popular to move overseas. Our hearts go out to the employees who are being displaced and I’ve already been on the phone with the State of TN today making plans for outplacement opportunities. We will be coordinating job fairs to help with job placement in the very near future. The current job market in this area is very hot and we will have very good success rate in getting these employees placed into another roll.”




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Dean is a Contributing Editor with Rhea Review. Dean has developed an interest in local history and has published a historical website relating to our history.


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