MONTAGUE COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The Nokona Glove Factory has seen its share of curveballs since opening its doors over 90 years ago.
When the Great Depression struck the nation in full force shortly after they opened, the Montague County business was able to adapt and make it through tough times.
Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact much of the nation, Nokona Glove Factory’s Vice President Rob Storey said they were able to apply their ability to change once again.
“We were fortunate enough to have our machine running for about a month when COVID hit,” Storey said. “It immediately allowed us to design masks that were cut out of cloth and start cutting that on the fly so to speak. We moved from the glove businesses to the mask business in a period of a week.”
The Great Depression wasn’t the only adversity Nokona Glove Factory faced early in their existence.
After being in business for one year, the factory located in downtown Nocona burned to the ground in 1927.
After decades of success and growth, fire struck Nokona once again when the more than 60,000 square foot factory on Walnut Street and Baylor Street burned to the ground in 2006.
Now located at 917 Highway 82, Storey said they’ve continued to adapt to make sure something like a fire doesn’t take their business again.
“We have been in the current location for about three years and we really make sure nobody is smoking in the building,” Storey said.
Like their history of adapting, Storey said Nokona Glove Factory has a history of community support and an unwillingness to give up.
Storey’s grandfather Bob Storey was the President and Chairman in 1934 when the name “Nokona” was officially trademarked.
Their first attempt at the name “Nocona” was denied by the U.S. Trademark Office, so Storey’s grandfather chose to adapt rather than give up.
Storey followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in 2006, when instead of walking away after his factory burned to the ground, he chose to continue paying his workers until they were able to relocate and resume production.
Now, facing yet another challenge in the form of a global pandemic, Storey hopes to continue building upon the foundation his grandfather built.
“He wanted to provide good jobs for people here in Nocona,” Storey said. “Through the years thousands of people have worked for us, so as we continue to grow the business, and business has been good lately, it gives us the opportunity to bring more and more people.”
With the support of their small community, a determination to never give up, and the ability to adapt and change, the Nokona Glove Factory will continue to catch whatever curveballs the world may throw their way and thrive for many more years to come.