On Saturday, Oct. 13, Sewell Mill will get a visit from some old friends, give or take a few hundred, as the venue hosts the first collective Sewell Manufacturing reunion.
Rather than having a reunion that reunites employees from just one of the many clothing company plants, this reunion will host employees from Sewell Company, Warren Sewell Company, Worley Sewell Company, Ray Sewell Company, Bremen Bowdon Investment Company, and Lamar Manufacturing Company.
Of course, the common thread that connects all these companies is that they were all owned by a member of the Sewell family.
“It’s going to be tremendous; it really is overdue,” said CEO of Sewell Company in Bremen Robin Worley.
Worley said while some may think the event is a celebration of the Sewell family and their manufacturing business, which was started by Warren Sewell Sr. in 1918, it’s really a way for the company to express their gratitude to their employees.
“This is not a celebration of the family,” Worley said. “It’s a celebration of the employees, because they are the ones who made us the clothing center of the South.”
According to Worley, the Sewell brand was able to grow by leaps and bounds during the heyday of manufacturing in the 1960s and 1970s. And it all started in 1945 when Warren Sewell Sr. walked across the street from Sewell Manufacturing and opened Warren Sewell Clothing Company.
“Then we had some relatives come back after the war and start up companies of their own,” Worley said. “At one time, in the 70s, it was estimated that four out of every 10 suits made in the United States was made right here in west Georgia. All the employees were part of that success. We had great leadership, but our employees contributed greatly to the longevity of the company.”
Worley said the owners of the companies were all related, and they treated their employees like family, too. So he and the Sewells are just as excited as their current and former employees about the upcoming reunion.
“We’re all anxious to get together and reminisce and see people,” he said.
The event, which will start at 4 p.m. and end at 8 p.m., will boast barbecue, door prizes and refreshments as well as entertainment from The Bullsboro Band of Bowdon as guests drop in throughout the night. A few surprise special guest speakers will take the microphone at 6 p.m., and people will be invited to share their stories via the radio and immortalize their reunion with friends and co-workers with the help of a photographer.
“They’ll also have a chance to see the new Sewell Historical Exhibit and look at the history they helped create,” Worley said.
The exhibit was officially opened earlier this year through a partnership with the University of West Georgia’s Center for Public History and features suits made by Sewell Manufacturing Company as well as machines used in the manufacturing of the suits. There is also a film playing for visitors of the exhibit with historical highlights on the area’s manufacturing history and the Sewell family.
According to Worley, though Sewell Mill is currently wearing several hats as the home of the new exhibit and an events venue, the 501(c)3 non-profit group’s ultimate goal is to be a children’s interactive educational center.
“So people who have their events there can feel good knowing it’s going toward the long-term goal of helping the children in our community move forward.”
To R.S.V.P. to the event, call 770-537-1772.