Cullman County-based HomTex expanding to Selma; more than 300 jobs to be created

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A group from Selma toured Cullman Thursday, Sept. 17 at the request of Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman to discuss community partnerships. Pictured are, from left, Jamie Troutman, Cullman Economic Development Agency; Brittney Harris, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce; Peggy Smith, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce; Jerry Wootten, HomTex ; Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs; Raji Gourdine, assistant dean of instruction, Wallace State Community College in Selma; Jeremy Wootten, HomTex; Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier, D-Selma; Dale Greer, Cullman Economic Development Agency: Ainka Jackson, executive director of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation; Sen. Garlan Gudger; Dr. Glenn King, director of workforce development Wallace State Community College in Selma; and Suzanne Harbin, assistant to the president for advancement, Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. (contributed)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced that HomTex Inc. received $10,572,100 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to expand operations to Selma to develop Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). HomTex is a family-owned and certified minority-owned business headquartered in Cullman County. The new Dallas County manufacturing location will create 300 to 325 new jobs.

“HomTex has made Alabama proud by stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic to shift their production to create critical PPE supplies,” said Ivey. “Their ability to be flexible in order to remain operational is the exact intent of the CARES Act funds. I appreciate their 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.”

In a partnership with the state of Alabama and Wallace Community College in Selma, HomTex will establish an operation to produce General Purpose and FDA-approved Level 1, 2 and 3 Surgical Masks and N95 masks. Wallace Community College will offer apprenticeship programs that will allow students to help make masks for their region and beyond.

“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. “With its expansion in Cullman and its new growth plans in Selma, HomTex is helping to make Alabama a U.S. hub for the production of PPE. In addition, the company’s new Selma operation will provide an economic boost for the Black Belt region and advance our strategic goal of providing opportunities in Alabama’s rural communities.”

HomTex, Inc. was founded in 1987 by Jerry Wootten in Vinemont and now has its headquarters in Cullman. In addition to its Vinemont and Cullman locations, HomTex has production and distribution facilities in Sylva, NC; Belton, SC; and Leoma, TN.

“We are very honored to be the recipient of COVID-19 Relief Funds from the state of Alabama,” HomTex President and Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Wootten said. “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. We very much appreciate the support from Governor Ivey, the State Senators and everyone who made the factory in Selma a reality.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, HomTex shifted production at the Cullman plant from bed linens to disposable medical grade masks as well as reusable, washable cotton masks. The manufacturer of DreamFit sheets, HomTex sells directly to furniture and mattress stores as well as national retail chains, specialty stores, gift stores and E-commerce. 

This fall, HomTex secured a contract to provide protective face masks to the federal agency responsible for the operation of the U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C.

Officials in Cullman and Dallas counties welcomed the company’s expansion plans.

“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.  The partnerships that made this project a reality include: Governor Ivey and her cabinet; the Cullman-Selma partnership; the Economic Development Committee in the Senate working across the aisle; and, Wallace State Selma and Wallace State Hanceville working as one to provide training,” Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman said. “Alabama is proving that partnerships are the key to creating a better future for our state and the nation.”

“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,” Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier, D-Selma said. “I am humbled by the bi-partisanship cooperation that made this all possible. This is how we build the Beloved Community. I believe this is a first step that can breathe new hope into the people of the Black Belt for much more economic development to come.”

Discussions about the HomTex expansion began when a delegation from Selma traveled to Cullman in September to talk about how two remarkably different communities with polar opposite historical backgrounds might address differences and discuss future partnerships that allow each community to benefit from the successes of the other.

Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding to respond to and mitigate COVID-19. Alabama Act 2020-199 designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund to be used to support citizens, businesses, and non-profit and faith-based organizations of the state directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Cullman Tribune