Family Owned. Family Run. Three Generations of Darn Tough

Denis, Adnan, and Abdija standing together, three generations of family and Darn Tough

Darn Tough is family owned. With three generations of Cabots having passed along the business from father to son, keeping it all in the family, it runs deep.

Marc and Ric Cabot, the founders and owners of Darn Tough Vermont

But the Cabot name isn't the only one you might see multiple times on the employee directory. You might pass a duplicate now and again, and one of those names you'll see would be Palic. Another family that you can trace the family tree at Darn Tough. Like the Cabots, there have been three generations who have shared the same passion. This is their story.

Darn Tough has always been a company that embodies the definition of family, and that does not fall short when it comes to the Palic family. My name is Denis Palic and I am a third generation Palic working here at Darn Tough.

Closely Bonded

Growing up in a family that has members already working for Darn Tough, I have always heard how great it was and how family oriented the company is. It wasn’t until I got to the company that I saw for myself just how closely bonded it is and how everyone treats each other well.

Denis Palic seated in front of a sunset

I started at Darn Tough the summer of 2018 as an intern working. I loved my experience; it matched everything I had ever heard about the company. I was greeted with open arms and felt comfortable instantly, and being in a workplace that makes you feel this way I wanted to keep coming back. Since that time, I have been back as an intern two more times, once in 2019, and again beginning in June of 2021.

I’m the first of a new generation of Palics at Darn Tough, and for all we know I might not be the last. But of course, I was not the first to join the DT family.

Starting Life Over

My dad Adnan Palic and his family were war refugees from Bosnia that came to America in October of 1997. He did not speak a lick of English and was starting life all over again in a foreign country.

My family had heard about this small new company that was up and coming, hiring, and selling socks, and they were interested in a job there. About six months later, the first Palic joined the Darn Tough family.

Cones of yarns hanging up at the Darn Tough Mill

That first Palic was my Grandma (my Dad’s mom) Hanifa, who started February 12, 1998. Next to come was my dad Adnan, who started April 15, 1998, and then my Grandpa Abdija started working for Darn Tough later in August 2008.

Sock Seamers & Master Technicians

My grandma, the first, started out as a sock seamer. She worked at Darn Tough as a seamer for almost 19 years before moving over to packaging.

When talking to her about her experience, she has nothing but great things to say. A foreigner who does not know any English, and did not learn it well, the acceptance and comfortableness she felt at Darn Tough is not something you will find everywhere.

Denis Palic with his grandma and grandpa

My dad then came two months after and started out on boarding (part of the sock wash and dry process). He worked at that position for six months before deciding he wanted to do more and push himself. He moved over to the technician position, helping run and take care of the knitting machines, and has not looked back since

Adnan working at a knitting machine

Since that day, my dad has been pushing himself and climbing up the ladder. He has worked his way all the way up to the title of Master Technician.

Last but not least, the fan favorite, my grandpa Abdija. He has been someone who I try to model myself after and someone I look at as a role model.

He has worked as a sock turner, which basically is turning socks inside out and making sure the seams are okay, and also going around the machines checking how everything is working. 

Adnan inspecting a sock at the Mill

Around the Mill, he is known as being a big ball of light who is always working and has a smile on his face. He loves to talk to everyone even though he does not know any English; he also loves to share chocolates and joke with everyone.

Family in Action

During the past two years, I have been lucky to work with them all at the Northfield Mill. I get to see them in action at the place my family first started working at 19 years ago.

Adnan and Abdija in the Mill holding their favorite socks

My dad and grandpa continue to work at Darn Tough to this day, and do not plan on ever stopping. Darn Tough has become family to them, and they have become family to Darn Tough. I hope to continue to be around the company and work with them, and maybe one day more generations will come through the company.

About the Author

Denis loves to play sports and workout. Spending time with his family is very important to him, as well as seeing his friends. In his spare time, Denis likes to watch basketball and football and play video games.