The Fabric of America: How Manufacturing Helped One Woman Create a New Life after Disaster

Melissa Miller, HR Manager at 1888 Mills

Oct. 4, 2019
By Elizabeth Walker, Walmart Corporate Affairs

Melissa Miller wasn’t looking for a new career.

It was 2006. The year before, Melissa’s family had moved to Griffin, Georgia, from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans was still recovering from the devastation caused by flooding, but Melissa had every intention of one day returning to her home city with her husband and children. In the meantime, however, she needed a paycheck, so she took on a temporary position with 1888 Mills, a textile manufacturing company headquartered in Griffin.

Meet 1888 Mills

It was meant to be a short-term receptionist position, but Melissa quickly made a home at 1888 Mills. Over the past 13 years, she has worked in various roles and seen the company grow enormously.

“They were so good to me,” she said. “They made it hard for me to leave.”

In 2013, 1888 Mills launched the Made Here line of bath towels in 645 Walmart stores, as part of Walmart’s $250 billion commitment to American manufacturing through 2023. It was the first time 1888 Mills employees were able to see their products on Walmart shelves. Melissa said it made her feel she was a part of something bigger.

Made in America. That means something.
Melissa Miller, HR Manager, 1888 Mills

The program quickly expanded, and 1888 Mills began producing the Better Homes and Gardens line for Walmart.

“Because of Walmart, we were able to hire a lot more employees,” Melissa said.

Now an HR manager, she’s gotten to be directly involved in the company’s hiring initiatives.

“We hired so many people from different cultures and backgrounds. We brought in people from New York, Chicago, Pakistan,” she said. “We give people a chance.”