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Bristol, Tennessee’s LC King—saving the world from skinny jeans since 1913

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Tom Wilmer
Entry to LC King clothing manufacturing facility in downtown Bristol, Tennessee remains virtually unchanged since it opened for business in 1913.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer and his friends, Ross Jones, Editor, and Ciara Bains, Assistant Editor with London based Holler—a global-reach digital media platform specializing in Americana and Roots music as they report from LC King Manufacturing in Bristol, Tennessee.

We’ll visit with Jack King, great-grandson of L.C. King who founded the work-wear clothing manufacturing company in downtown Bristol, Tennessee back in 1913.

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Tom Wilmer
The sewing floor at LC King clothing factory in Bristol, Tennessee.

King shares insights about how the family business thrived in spite of brutal tariff competition from China as well as how he reinvented his business model in response to the COVID epidemic.

He also explains how his garments became the rage in Japan with a cult like following, and how Hollywood-star Tom Hanks came to wear an iconic LC King chore coat.

King also describes how all LC King clothes are sewn in the Bristol factory and sources100 percent of his raw materials--buttons to zippers and fabrics--from American manufacturers.

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Tom Wilmer
Jack King (right), with Ciara Bains in background, operates the botton hole machine at LC King in Bristol, Tennessee.

We’ll also chat with one of King’s 43 passionate employees, Jason Odell, who shares tales of how he came to work at LC King, and his love and pride in crafting LC King clothes.

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Tom Wilmer
LC King clothing factory in downtown Bristol, Tennessee has remained in the same building since 1913.

Funding for Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer is provided by the Foundation at Hearst Castle

Conserving the past to inspire future generations of dreamers and preserving the legacy of Julia Morgan.

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Foundation at Hearst Castle

Experience authentically curated historical events that recreate what it was like to be a guest of William Randolph Hearst—click here to learn more about becoming a supporting member of the Foundation at Hearst Castle.

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Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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