Why Fall River? Textile innovation returns to its roots
Fall River, Massachusetts, was once America’s leading textile center. At its peak in the 19th century, the city boasted more than 40 mills and was a bustling hub for manufacturers as well as suppliers, fabricators and craftsmen. But, like Detroit and so many other great centers of American manufacturing, Fall River fell on hard times as globalization and foreign competition put local producers out of business and jobs went overseas. By the 1960s, many of the town’s historic mills were abandoned or razed, and generations of knowledge and talent would go untapped.
When Merida made the decision to manufacture in the U.S. almost two decades ago, we knew the rich heritage that was right in our backyard. Sure, it would be challenging, but we believed the market was ready for beautiful, high-quality products made by expert craftspeople. Fall River had the people and skills to deliver on that. The rest would come down to a rigorous design process and an innovative approach to manufacturing. That, and spools of good old-fashioned American grit.
Eighteen years later, Merida continues to innovate as we expand our capabilities, with a talented team of local craftspeople and designers creating unique, hand-finished rugs, right in Fall River. Our 40,000 square-foot workshop hums to the rhythms of heritage and modern looms at work. Interior designers partner with us to bring their projects to life, tapping our textile expertise, knowledge of materials, and extensive customization capabilities.
Today, Fall River is on the verge of a design manufacture renaissance. Businesses are once again investing in local talent. Startups are moving into long-shuttered mills. And artists and designers from neighboring RISD are clearing the cobwebs from old factory floors to open studios and workshops.
Fall River has a new story to tell, and Merida is proud to be spearheading the next chapter, employing talented local craftspeople to bring textile innovation back to its American roots.