It employed thousands of people for more than 120 years, and when it closed in 2008 it separated many employees that called each other family. But on Saturday, the Dan River Mills was brought back to life again, in the form of a big reunion at the Danville Community Market. There were hundreds of former employees there. They said it was a time to reminisce on the good times.
It's now just big vacant building in downtown Danville, but it signifies something much more.
"Dan River built Danville from the ground up, and before it went out of business is set Danville on the map," said Annie Chandler, a former employee of Dan River Mills .
Dan River Mills served as a historic manufacturer of apparel and homeware. At its peak it employed more than 12,000 people at one time.
"If anybody needed a job all they had to do was go to the employment office. Dan River always had a job. They always had something for someone to do. They knew that they had some kind of livelihood there," said Virginia Dalton, a former employee of Dan River Mills.
Started in the late1800'ss, Dan River Mills thrived many years, but in the early 2000s, the recession hit. Consumers spent less, and the mill had too much product. The layoffs began and by 2008 the industry that fueled Danville was dead.
"It hurt a lot of people because we the people made Dan River the success it was and you know I don't want to say I felt like a failure but we when it fell, we lost a lot," Dalton said.
"It was really heart breaking," Chandler added.
"We spent as much time if not more with our department family than we did with our own family," Dalton recalled.
That's why Chandler organized a big Dan River Mills family reunion, to relive all the great memories took place in a building that signified the strength of Danville.
"I'm just looking forward to talking to all the people I haven't seen," Dalton said.
This is was the first Dan River Mills reunion. Many said they hope it becomes an annual tradition