LongWater Opportunities, an operationally focused private equity firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, has acquired Fox River Mills, the 116-year-old sock manufacturer. The firm bought Fox River from the Lessard family, who have owned and managed the business since 1975.
Founded in 1900, Fox River says it is the longest, continuously running hosiery brand in the U.S. and manufactures all of its products in its 240,000 square foot, facility in Osage, Iowa. Fox River manufactures socks and handwear products marketed under the Fox River brand name and maintains private label programs for many major brands and retailers worldwide. The company is also known for several trademarks, including Wick Dry, Scentry, and the Original Rockford Red Heel Monkey sock — used to make the iconic children’s toy, the sock monkey.
“We knew it was important to find a partner that believed in U.S. manufacturing and investing in the people and the community. We believe we’ve found that in LongWater,” said Fox River President and Co-Owner John Lessard.
Additionally, Brenda Dryer, the executive director for the Mitchell Country (Iowa) Economic Development Commission, commented, “We have had an outstanding working relationship with the Lessard family. We look forward to the opportunity to work with LongWater Opportunities, and stand ready to be of assistance during this time of transition.”
Fox River, the fourth investment in LongWater’s second equity fund, will be a division of Standard Merchandising Company, a Camden, New Jersey-based domestic manufacturer of socks and hosiery products acquired by LongWater in December 2015.