Kentwool Co., a wool yarn manufacturing company, celebrates 180 years in business, spanning five generations of Kent family ownership.
Founded in 1843, Kentwool, formerly known as The Kent Manufacturing Co., was established in Philadelphia, Pa., by Philadelphia businessman and English immigrant Thomas Kent. From its inception, Kentwool has specialized in the manufacturing of woolen goods. Throughout its 180-year history, the company has played a role in monumental moments in American history, manufacturing uniforms for the Union Army in the American Civil War and supplying the U.S. Armed Forces during both World Wars.
In 1954, under the leadership of the company’s fourth-generation owner, Tom Kent, Kentwool opened a production facility in Pickens, S.C. Sixteen years later, the company’s headquarters transitioned to Greenville, S.C., where it remains today.
In 1992, after Tom Kent’s passing, his son, the late Greenville business leader and philanthropist Mark Kent, took ownership of the company at the age of 29. Under Mark’s leadership, the company rebranded in 2007, changing its name from The Kent Manufacturing Co. to Kentwool. Just three years later, Kentwool introduced consumer products, debuting their wool golf sock at the 2010 PGA Merchandise show in Orlando, Fla. Maintaining the company’s family-centric mentality, Mark’s wife Kimberly V. Kent served alongside her husband as a member of the advisory board and in-house counsel.
Kim assumed the role as owner, president, and CEO in 2017, following Mark’s passing, at which time she became the first female owner and operator in the company’s history.
Kentwool announces new leadership
As Kentwool celebrates 180 years in business, the company and its leadership look ahead to the future. The company announced that Kim Kent, owner, president and CEO, will transition out of the role of president and CEO effective December 20, 2023. As her successor, Kent has named Justin Ferdinand, the company’s current COO and president of Kentwool Performance. Kent will maintain her role as chairman.
“I’m so excited to be part of such a fantastic company rich in history and to have the privilege to lead this team in the next chapter,” Ferdinand says. “We have an aggressive growth strategy focused on leveraging the organization’s full capabilities and a tenured team that is skilled and ready to make the plans a reality. “