Couple has big plans for old Mylcraft facility

Published 5:12 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

RICH SQUARE – A large space deserves a grand vision.

Terry Robinson and his wife, Dr. Lagena Smith-Robinson, are currently devising site use plans for the old Mylcraft building they purchased in Rich Square. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

The building, which for decades housed Mylcraft – a now-defunct garment sewing company – in Rich Square before it closed, has been purchased by Terry Robinson and his wife, Dr. Lagena Smith-Robinson. And they envision several uses for the property in the future.

Though the couple lives in Maryland now, Robinson was raised by his grandparents on a farm right outside of Rich Square. Whenever he returns to his hometown these days, however, he said he was struck by the lack of recreation options and job opportunities for the community.

“We wanted to change that atmosphere,” he explained. “I asked God to give me a building. I didn’t know it was going to be here. But I prayed on it, and this is what He gave me. I’m glad I had the opportunity to acquire it.”

The large former manufacturing and warehouse facility, located at 416 N. Main Street, spans more than 85,000 square feet. The inside was cleaned out when the facility shut down, though a few mementos of days past still remain – employee time cards nestled on the wall beside an old time clock, numbers on the floor to indicate where sewing machines used to be, and some designs for jerseys from various professional sports teams.

Dr. Smith-Robinson has focused on researching the history of the building, learning that the company used to produce garments for several businesses including JC Penney, Sears, and Montgomery Ward.

At one point, the company housed over 300 employees in various positions such as sewing, cutting, screen printing, shipping, and more. On a recent visit to Rich Square, the Robinsons met with a few former Mylcraft employees to learn more about their experiences and the negative economic impact on the town once it closed down.

They’re currently in the process of adding the building to the National Register of Historic Places, and Smith-Robinson said they’re going to preserve as much of the history as they can.

“We don’t want to take that [history] away. We just want to enhance that. Let’s bring that vitality back,” she explained.

Even though they’ll honor the manufacturing history of the space, the Robinsons have other plans for how the building will be used in the future.

Phase one, they explained, will be to convert part of the building into a bowling alley and sports lounge. Phase two will be to utilize the facility’s loading docks and warehouse space to hopefully become a shipping hub for businesses such as Amazon or UPS. And phase three will convert another part of the building into a rental hall for people in the community to host various events throughout the year.

Dr. Smith-Robinson said she’d like to get phase one completed in a year and a half if all goes well. She also said they’re hoping to hire local contractors to do the renovation work, but will search for outside contractors if necessary.

“I know a lot of people here. I just want to help them,” Robinson said of how their project will make an impact on the community.

At one point, Mylcraft housed over 300 employees in various positions such as sewing, cutting, screen printing, shipping, and more at its Rich Square facility, which encompasses more than 85,000 square feet. Contributed Photo

They hope to provide opportunities for people of all ages. He explained, for example, that there are bowling teams for kids where they live in Maryland. Robinson envisions something similar available for local kids and teens too once they get the bowling alley up and running.

And even though they aren’t able to bring back the hundreds of jobs provided by Mylcraft, the couple hopes to give the local economy a boost by hiring people to staff the bowling alley and sports lounge and shipping warehouse.

“We’re just excited to be a part of something that we know is going to be great,” said Dr. Smith-Robinson.

If anyone is interested in helping out or sharing more history information, Dr. Smith-Robinson said to contact her at

Rich Square Mayor Victoria Newcombe said the town is very excited about the Robinson’s plans.

“Mylcraft was an institution in Rich Square for many, many years, and many people have fond memories of it,” she told the News Herald. “We look forward to assisting the Robinsons in their plans to revitalize the facility and also to foster growth for the town of Rich Square.”