Polartec has been taking flak over its plans to shut down its manufacturing plant in Lawrence, Massachusetts, after it filed paperwork disclosing its intentions to start laying off workers. United Here, the trade union that represents most of the workers, wrote an open letter to Rose Marcario, chief executive at Patagonia, urging the outdoor apparel company and Polartec customer to save the 350 jobs in Lawrence. Polartec announced last year that it would shutter the factory in Massachusetts and move its operations to other plants in Hudson, New Hampshire, and Cleveland, Tennessee. The Boston Globe reported last month that Polartec has notified the state of Massachusetts about plans to shut down the Lawrence plant by the end of the year. The report added that the closure is anticipated to lead to about 230 redundancies this summer. The plant was ravaged by fire about 20 years ago when Polartec was Malden Mills and its then owner, Aaron Feuerstein, decided to continue paying workers throughout the reconstruction. Polartec was taken over in 2007 by Versa Capital. Gary Smith, chief executive of Polartec, reiterated the company's motives in an interview with SGB Executive. He pointed out that Versa Capital had saved Polartec from going out of business, and that the company had continued to invest in U.S. manufacturing by buying a building from one of its suppliers in Tennessee. He further argued that Polartec never used more than 25% of the capacity of the Lawrence plant, which is also saddled with high energy costs. However, the Boston Globe quoted a trade union spokesman as saying that the factory was running at full capacity in April, with some employees filing for overtime, adding that he thought the decision could be reversed. On the back of discussions with state economic development officials, Smith told SGB Executive that he was increasingly optimistic about finding a buyer for the Lawrence plant.