‘Made in USA’ means 65 new jobs

A partnership between Standard Textile and Marriott International will create a total of 65 new jobs in Union County.

The new jobs were announced during a Thursday afternoon press conference at the Standard Textile plant at 100 Highpoint Drive attended by Marriott International Executive Chairman J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Standard Textile President and CEO Gary Heiman, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, local government officials, and representatives of the local business community.

Marriott International has committed to provide “Made in USA” towels and bath mats in every guest bathroom in nearly 3,000 hotels across the United States, towels and bath mats made by Standard Textile. According to a press release by Marriott International and Standard Textile, Marriott’s decision is “a first for the U.S. hospitality industry.” The press release states that “buying ‘Made in USA’ towels and bath mats benefits U.S. manufacturing communities such as Thomaston, Ga., and Union, S.C., where manufacturing company Standard Textile is producing them with 100 percent cotton fiber grown in the U.S.”

The press release further states that “Marriott’s commitment to buy ‘Made in USA’ guestroom terry products creates 150 new jobs in Standard Textile’s facilities in Thomaston and Union, as well as at the company’s Cincinnati headquarters and through its supply chain.”

“As a global company based in the USA, we’re proud to be the first hospitality company to commit to providing our guests with ‘Made in USA’ bathroom towels in our U.S. hotels,” Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson said.

“We believe our guests will appreciate knowing that even simple items they use every day in our hotels represent progress for the U.S. economy,” Marriott said. “We also hope this sends a message to other businesses that buying locally can make business sense.”

The result of this partnership between Standard Textile and Marriott International was the subject of Thursday’s press conference. In his address, Heiman said that 15 of the new jobs will be at Standard Textile’s Cincinnati headquarters. Of the remaining 135, he said approximately 65 will be at the Union County facility.

During his address, Heiman pointed out that Standard Textile had acquired its Union County facility in 2004, modifying, modernizing and expanding it into the “very, very successful plant it is today” that is “really making an impact on the community.” He said that using “advanced manufacturing techniques, smart manufacturing techniques” Standard Textile is producing a superior product at the Union County facility. As proud he is of that, Heiman said he is most proud of the positive impact Standard Textile has had on its employees and on the community it is part of.

Marriott also spoke during the press conference, calling it “a very special day of us.” He pointed out that Marriott International has had “great partnership” with Standard Textile since 1990. He said that Marriott International is proud to be bringing the jobs that will be created through the “Made in USA” program back home to America.

Also speaking at the press conference was South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt who called it “another remarkable day for South Carolina’s thriving manufacturing industry. Days like today are the reason we are leading the manufacturing renaissance. In South Carolina, our people have built a reputation for making things and making them well. And the world has taken notice.”

Hitt pointed out that “with today’s event, it’s clear that both Standard Textile and Marriott have taken notice. From cars to airplanes to towels, our South Carolina workforce produces top-quality products. We take great pride in things that are made in the USA and, more specifically, made right here in South Carolina. As a result, global companies like Standard Textile continue to grow their operations within our borders.”

The press release states that, overall, Marriott’s commitment “will mean the annual production of 2.6 million bath towels and 4.9 million hand towels – the equivalent of as much as 5.6 million pounds of textiles. If laid end-to-end, the textiles Marriott will purchase in one year would stretch more than 4,300 miles. The commitment to manufacture these textiles in the U.S., also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating more than 300 ocean going container shipments annually.”

It further states that “Marriott’s ‘Made in USA’ commitment with Standard Textile expands the two companies’ long-standing relationship. Last year, Marriott recognized Standard Textile’s commitment to continuous collaboration, innovative new products and superior service by giving the company its 2015 Americas Recognition Award.”

“Marriott’s desire to provide guests with terry bath products made by U.S. textile artisans speaks to the heart of why Standard Textile is thriving and creating new jobs after 76 years,” said Heiman said. “Our commitment to technology driven manufacturing and innovation has enabled us to expand our operations in the U.S., creating a sustainable infrastructure for Marriott’s ‘Made in USA’ products.”

The press release concludes by stating that “customers can find ‘Made in USA’ towels and bath mats in some hotels today, though ultimately most U.S. hotels across all of Marriott’s brands — ranging from moderate to luxury — will provide the items. To provide hotel operators with innovative solutions that control costs while delivering high quality products and services, Marriott partners with Avendra, North America’s leading procurement services provider serving the hospitality industry.

About Marriott International

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a global leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 4,400 properties in 87 countries and territories. Marriott International reported revenues of more than $14 billion in fiscal year 2015. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 19 brands, including: The Ritz-Carlton®, BVlgari®, EDITION®, JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott Hotels®, Delta Hotels and Resorts®, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Marriott Vacation Club®, Gaylord Hotels®, AC Hotels by Marriott®, Courtyard®, Residence Inn®, SpringHill Suites®, Fairfield Inn & Suites®, TownePlace Suites®, Protea Hotels® and Moxy Hotels®. Marriott has been consistently recognized as a top employer and for its superior business ethics. The company also manages the award-winning guest loyalty program, Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® program, which together comprise nearly 55 million members. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

About Standard Textile

Standard Textile is a leading, vertically integrated, global provider of total solutions in hospitality textiles, interiors, healthcare, apparel and consumer markets worldwide. With 23 technology driven manufacturing plants and distribution facilities in 12 countries around the world, the Company leverages textile design, advanced manufacturing and laundry expertise to serve its customers worldwide. Founded in 1940, Standard Textile has developed a culture of innovation, quality, and service, as well as a commitment to enhance sustainability. With more than 70 patents, its products are engineered to deliver durability, longevity and value. For more information, visit www.standardtextile.com.

By Charles Warner, Staff Reporter with The Union Times