FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) – A former hosiery mill is being repurposed in Fort Payne. The old Bailey Knit Corp Hosiery Mill building is turning into a sports training facility. But before it does, the new owners will give the socks found inside to those in need.

The history of hosiery is well-known to the Fort Payne area. Most known is the W. B. Davis Hosiery Mill which was the largest employer in the Fort Payne area in the early 1900s. It inspired other hosiery companies to come to town like Bailey Knit Corp, giving Fort Payne the title of “sock capital of the world.”

Over the years, many of those buildings were left behind, unused. That’s when Tony Hendon stepped in to purchase the old Bailey Knit Corp. building, and turn old to new making the building a sports complex.

“It all started with a drive down the road and happen to see that the building was for sale,” Hendon told News 19. “It is a former sock mill here in Fort Payne, Alabama. I’ve always had a vision to have a place to go for sports training facility indoors, because that’s one of the needs of the community. I feel like its not enough places for kids to get out and enjoy sports.”

To Hendon’s surprise, he found around 3 million pairs of socks still inside the building after buying it.

To help others in need, he decided to give those socks away. Those socks will now go to Extended Arms program. Owner, Johnathan Bond says they were in search of socks when this fell into their lap.

“You know we were handing out clothes and I had about thirty pairs of socks this particular day. This was probably about a month ago, but we had about a hundred and thirty people and it seemed like every one of them asked for socks. It was a wet day and when I left there I felt almost defeated because it didn’t have enough socks you know. And so I said, ‘God where can I get a whole bunch of socks?'”

And his prayers were answered tenfold. Currently there are three million socks up for grabs for those in need. Some will go to Extended Arms but others in the North Alabama area are encouraged to grab a pair for groups who need them.

The owners are having a work day for people to help distribute pairs of socks on April 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Carol Busby, Project Manager for the Extended Arms Program at (256) 899-2560.