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  1. #1
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    Default Darn Tuff Factory Sale

    I made the run over to Northfield VT to Cabot Hosiery Mills annual factory sale this past Saturday. Its a unique VT tradition, thousands of folks visit the factory to buy seconds, irregular and I suspect overstocks of Darn Tuff socks for around $8 to $11 a pair (10% less if you buy $100 worth). The event is always the two first weekends of VT deer hunting season, so last weekend was the first weekend and next weekend Nov 23rd and 24th is the last. The other thing unusual about the sale is they make no attempt to advertise it on social media, its mostly word of mouth and maybe some mentions on the radio. Its strictly walk up, no online sales. They just clear a space in their warehouse delineated by piles of boxes and then let so many folks in at time to dig through the inventory that is put out on large tables and reloaded with more socks whenever the piles get low. Most of the socks are marked as seconds meaning no lifetime guarantee but my experience has been that the "defects" generally do not impact the life of the sock. Darn Tuff makes a lot of cold weather socks for the US military. For those familiar with the term ECWCS they supply ECWCS socks as well as other varieties. They are hard to beat for cold weather and are a 60 to 70% merino blend. Seconds go for 3 pairs for $18 with 6 pairs going for $28. Great for winter hiking.

    They do have a large warming tent outside the door but given the number of folks who attend there is usually a line outside the tent outdoors. I got there early right when the door opened so I got in the warming tent but when I left at around 9:30 there were several hundred folks in line outside the tent. Given its outdoors in VT, cold weather gear is a must while standing in line. Its an interesting crowd of mostly outdoor sports fans of all types with folks from all over New England but definitely the majority are Vermonters. For VT its actually not hard to get to as its right off I89.

    I usually go every 2 or 3 years and stock up on inventory. I usually give away a few. Even if they were "firsts" I wouldn't normally return socks that are just plain worn out so I don't mind the lack of lifetime warrantee.

  2. #2
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    Default

    That is pretty interesting. Both my wife and I love our DT socks. We try to get them on sales, but then it is usually $12-$13 a pair.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    30 years ago I worked right next door to the Cabot sock mill at a furniture shop in Northfield. I remember the factory sales and bought some things there over the years but unfortunately that was before Darn Tough was a thing. Since I left there it looks like they built a new factory and started the Darn Tough line of socks.

  4. #4
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    Cabot just bought an old mill complex with an big smokestack just up the road (Nantanna Mill )closer to downtown to expand into. They are spending a lot of money to renovate it and it shows. They do seem to be on a roll. I think the father who founded it is retired and the son has taken over. I think they started doing private label socks and the military socks but when they came out with Darn Tuff, they really cranked up. Northfield is rare for much of Vermont towns in that its got Norwich University and a thriving local manufacturing business with full time work and benefits. Many of the old mill and university towns in the state and surrounding states are pretty depressed as the mills have long since closed down and some of the smaller private universities are starting to close down or consolidate. Get outside of the Burlington area and the norm is lots of fancy shops for the tourists hiding part time work and no benefits for the workers or long commutes to Burlington. Cabot has stated that one of their biggest problems is finding employees.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Cabot just bought an old mill complex with an big smokestack just up the road (Nantanna Mill )closer to downtown to expand into.
    That's the building I worked in. The furniture shop I worked for has relocated somewhere else in Vermont.

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