Homtex, a company that made its name producing linens and other cloth products, is receiving $10,572,100 in CARES Act funds from the State of Alabama to build a new plant near Selma that will manufacture face masks and employ over 300 workers.
Governor Kay Ivey announced the expansion in a release on Monday morning, praising Homtex for “stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic to shift their production to create critical PPE supplies.”
Headquartered in Cullman, HomTex has shifted a large portion of their overall operations into personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing since April and plans to make it a focus of their business going forward.
“This second operation will make HomTex one of the largest face masks manufacturers in the USA, and we are proud to be manufacturing these products in Cullman and Selma,” remarked HomTex president and chief financial officer Jeremy Wootten.
Wootten also noted his company is “very honored to be the recipient of COVID-19 Relief Funds from the state of Alabama.”
The governor believes that HomTex’s “ability to be flexible in order to remain operational is the exact intent of the CARES Act funds.”
Earlier in 2020, HomTex was selected as the official face mask provider for the U.S. Capitol Complex.
Homtex is controlled by the Wootten family and was founded in the rural Cullman County community of Vinemont in 1987.
The new facility in Selma will produce multiple types of masks for general use as well as those of surgical quality and N95 grade.
HomTex executives and Alabama officials have noted that the decision to make such a large investment in PPE manufacturing has national security implications.
“If anything good can come from this situation, it’s that the country begins to realize that our domestic textile industry has just about vanished, and that has caused a strategic disadvantage in our supply of PPE,” Homtex founder Jerry Wootten told the Cullman Tribune.
“The coronavirus pandemic has clearly demonstrated that our country needs a dependable domestic production pipeline for PPE, and Cullman-based HomTex has stepped up to fill a portion of that critical need,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.”
State Senator Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman), who represents the area where HomTex is headquartered, stated, “Through this pandemic, we have seen the need for bringing supply chain manufacturing back to America. The only way to make these expansions happen is by working together.”
He also praised the intra-state partnerships that brought the Homtex expansion to fruition.
“I must first thank God for these 320 new jobs in the Black Belt of Alabama. I am so appreciative of Governor’s Ivey’s decision and work to make this happen for the people of the Black Belt. It is a major step in our goal to help people help themselves out of poverty in Senator Singleton’s and my district,” said State Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier (D-Selma), whose district will encompass the new plant.
“I am humbled by the bi-partisanship cooperation that made this all possible,” she added.
Ivey concluded, “I appreciate [Homtex’s] commitment to the economy and Alabama workers by providing needed jobs in Dallas County and thank HomTex for being a great corporate partner with the state of Alabama.”