Recently a former customer came to tour the mill, and they were curious if anyone would remember them. They stepped onto the floor and gave their name.
Without missing a beat, “I know exactly who you are, and I can tell you what you ordered.”
She rattled off a few items and they confirmed them as correct. The order she had recalled was from 1986, three decades ago. From the smallest swatch to a 200 piece order, nothing goes out the door without her knowing. Her grandfather worked at the mill. Her mother worked at the mill, and now her. With three generations and almost a century of experience between them she’s a wealth of knowledge. This is Wendy Batz and she is Shipping Coordinator at American Woolen.
How did you come to work at the mill?
I was born and raised in Stafford, and my mother worked at the mill. I came right out of school. I was 18 years old. It was the thing to do. My mother was a spinner here for 40 years. My grandfather worked here many years ago when they were making blankets for the army, and now I have worked at the mill for 36 years.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
I really don’t see anything too challenging. You just have to set your limits, but I really like what I do so I don't see anything as really challenging.
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
I like to see when the new line goes out. You know you send all these swatches to customers...it’s very rewarding to see the sample orders come in and then the production comes in. You go from seeing the very first thing of a little swatch to then it’s going to be produced. I really like that.
What does the Made in America movement mean to you?
I love seeing things Made in America. It used to be something we took pride in, but you can’t find it as much anymore. You go to the store and you look for garments Made in America and you can’t find anything. And look at all the jobs that have been lost because things are going overseas. It’s like profit is more important than pride. But you can see some of it starting to come back. It’s nice to be a part of that.
What are your hobbies outside of the mill?
We go to the races. We have a race car we work on. The owner of the speedway here has two boys and they both drive. We take care of one of their cars.