Title: Oral History Interview with Edward L. Gruber, November 11, 1985. Interview C-0136.
Interviewer: Bulla, Ben
Interviewee: Gruber, Edward L.
Subjects: Jordan, B. Everett Gruber, Ed North Carolina--Biography
Abstract: Edward Gruber was born and raised in Spring City, Pennsylvania. During the early twentieth century, his father opened up Spring City Knitting Company, an underwear manufacturing company, later called Spring City Mills. Starting out as a small business, the company rapidly expanded. While going to school, Gruber worked as an apprentice at the mill. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1931, he returned to Spring City to work for his father full-time. Shortly after he came to work there, the company took off financially—despite the impact of the Great Depression—and his father decided to let him handle the business end of the company, which he did into the 1980s. In the 1930s, Gruber began to work closely with B. Everett Jordan of Sellers Manufacturing Company; Jordan later became a United States senator from North Carolina. Establishing the beginnings of a lifelong friendship and business partnership, Gruber and Jordan worked closely together over the years, to the mutual benefit of their businesses. Gruber describes Jordan's leadership and business acumen. In the early 1950s, Gruber bought out his father's share of the company and expanded its reach to the West, establishing plants in Arizona. Gruber explains how he experimented with different fabrics in order to produce a superior yet affordable product, how he established powerful business partnerships with department store distributors such as J. C. Penney and Sears, and the vast expansion of Spring City Mills under his leadership.