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Hong Kong-Based American Merchant Opens United States Plant in Bristol, Virginia

American Merchant, Inc., a subsidiary of Merchant House International Ltd, a Hong Kong-based designer and manufacturer of home textiles, seasonal décor products, and leather shoes, will invest $19.9 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Bristol, Virginia.

The new textiles plant, which is expected to create 405 new jobs, will expand the company’s home décor products division into the U.S. American Merchant, Inc. is a newly-formed company that will manufacture embroidered hand and bath towels in Bristol.

“Virginia has a rich history of manufacturing textiles for hundreds of years,” said Loretta Lee, Chairwoman & Founder of Merchant House International Ltd. “With retailers increasingly challenged by e-commerce competitors, speed-to-market is vital. Therefore, manufacturing and warehousing in Virginia will be a great advantage, and we are delighted to return our industry to this beautiful state. “

“We have been warmly welcomed by state and local officials, and we feel certain we have found the right home for our business. We visited a number of states, but after careful analysis, Virginia finished at the top of every list,” she added.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Bristol to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $300,000 grant from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund to assist the city with the project.

The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission 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.

“It's an honor to welcome American Merchant to Southwest Virginia and to our impressive roster of international manufacturing companies, which represent more than $118 billion in direct economic output across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe, speaking at the event.

Global companies expanding into the U.S. market continue to choose Virginia as their entry point, demonstrating the advantages of our strategic location, business-friendly environment, and robust talent pipeline. The advanced manufacturing industry, which is one of the pillars of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy, is gaining momentum in the Commonwealth. I congratulate the City of Bristol and thank American Merchant for bringing hundreds of jobs and this significant investment,” he added.

“The addition of over 400 new jobs and the revitalization of a former manufacturing facility is a big win for the City of Bristol, and we welcome American Merchant as Virginia's new corporate partner,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Our success in attracting international companies, of which more than 700 are located in Virginia, and major advanced manufacturing projects is evidence of our competitiveness on a global level, and the Commonwealth has emerged as a leader in this key industry. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with American Merchant.”

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