Bibb Manufacturing Company / The Bibb Company
Founded: Feb 1876 in Macon, GA by Isaac N Hanson and Hugh M Corner.
Private Labels: Sears, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, Belk’s and many more
Bibb was a main supplier of sheets with personalized private labels and sheet content and patterns for multiple department stores including Sears, JCPenney, Montgomery Wards, Belk’s and more. They were the main manufacturer of licensed kids products, juvenile, character sheets and sports themed sheets. Almost all of your childhood vintage sheets were made by or the patterns were designed by Bibb. Some of their most prominent licenses included Star Wars (see below), The National Football League NFL, Major League Baseball MLB, Barney the Dinosaur, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Sailor Moon, Batman, Superman, and so many more. Both the quality of their artwork and the textile products made by them brought companies to them first to make their sheets; however, it is widely believed that their inability to properly manage all of these licenses eventually led to their demise.
In 1977, Bibb was also the original company contacted by George Lucas to assist in the design and development of what became the Star Wars series of sheets, pillowcases, bedroom accessories, blankets, drapes and towels. Bibb created and released eight original designs for 20th Century Fox Film Corp and more were created later due to their success. Before the sheets were even released Bibb had commitments from Sears, JCPenney, Montgomery Wards, K-Mart, Belk’s and other stores to carry the new Star Wars line to be sold under private labels and the Bibb label. At the time these sheets were being made Bibb had 18 Mills/Operating Plants in Georgia and over 6500 employees.
Between 1985-1995 Thomas Foley who took over the company began buying junk bonds which resulted in a buyout that destroyed Bibb financially. In 1997, the Terry (Towel) Division of Bibb was sold to Westpoint Stevens, including the Rosemary plant that JP Stevens bought in 1988. In 1998, Dan River Inc purchased Bibb for $250 million. The end finally came in 2000, when The Bibb Manufacturing Macon Office closed. The HQ in East Macon was sold to the city of Macon and is now the Secretary of States Examining Board Office. During their operation, Bibb had 25 mills. Like Cannon, they focused on their mill employees and families. They created education, stores, hospitals, and housing like “Bibb City”. They had 5 elementary schools, 19 vocational schools for employees and 6 churches. They even welcomed Churches to build on mill land for free with Bibb offering to pay 1/3 the cost of their construction. Bibb gave its employees free healthcare and had 6 free clinics, 9 doctors, 8 nurses, 6 social workers and a hospital at the Porterdale Mill.
Bibb Manufacturing was an important part of Georgia’s Cotton and Textile Industry and History for more than a century. By the mid-1950s, Bibb was Georgia’s largest employer. Bibb’s closure affected Bibb City and the other communities of textile employees as well. In 2000, Bibb City ceased to be independent and merged with the city of Columbus.
Bibb Brands/Trademarks: Classic, Dreamstyles, Room Concepts, Cotton Comfort, Cotton Soft, Royalton, Westminster,