Regions Southwest Virginia

Company plans to create 405 jobs in Bristol

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American Merchant Inc. will invest $19.9 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Bristol, a project expected to create 405 jobs.

The company is a subsidiary of Merchant House International Ltd, a Hong Kong-based designer and manufacturer of home textiles, seasonal décor products and leather shoes.

The new textiles plant in Bristol will expand the company’s home décor products division into the U.S.

American Merchant is a newly-formed company that will manufacture embroidered hand and bath towels in Bristol.

Virginia competed against Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina for the project.

Merchant House International, which is listed on the Australia Securities Exchange, operates in three segments: home textiles, footwear manufacturing, and footwear trading.

The company offers kitchen items, table-top products, kitchen rugs and decorative pillows; as well as footwear products.

It also exports its work boots and safety shoes.

The company sells its products in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and China.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the city of Bristol to secure the project. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $300,000 grant from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund to assist the city with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved $590,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds.

American Merchant is eligible to receive additional grants and state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program and Appalachian Regional Commission, both administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.  Funding services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

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