Graniteville residents try to stay optimistic after Avondale closing

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

Avondale's closing delivers a hard blow to a community built around the paychecks that came from the mill.

Now many in Graniteville are wondering if the town will eventually fade away.

On this day you would imagine Linda Smith is serving up sympathy...but it's anything but that at her Blue Top Grill in Graniteville.

"We are a legend in Graniteville, just like the mill," she says. "We've been around a long time."

Linda is relying on a tightly knit community to keep her in business.

Even though Avondale Mills has closed its doors with 1000 workers gone, she refuses to let the domino effect of last year's train collision and chlorine release take her business under.

"It may have an affect some, but not to the point it's going to shut us down," she says.

But Billy Goff, who lives near the mills, isn't so optimistic. He thinks it will be a blow to the town that has been depending on the mills for over a hundred years.

"If the mills close, it'll be a ghost town," he says.

The empty parking lots and halted production are heartbreaking for the mill town, and for former employees like Rosalyn Jackson.

"Even after the announcement, I still thought there was a chance that it would bounce back," she says.

"It's sad for the community, because this community depends on the jobs for the economy around here," says Graniteville resident Gary Carr.

But Linda Smith's business seems to be on a roll...and she hopes it will stay that way.

Last month we reported that North Carolina-based Parkdale Mills bought Avondale Mills' Townsend plant.

A spokesperson for Avondale told News 12 last month they are still working to sell the six other plants in the valley.


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