September 17, 2013
Jefferson City, TN - The Footwear Division of the Merchant House International Group announced today that it has purchased a 40,000 square foot building in the Jefferson City Industrial Park where it plans to manufacture its line of men’s leather boots and shoes. The operation, to be known as Footwear Industries of Tennessee, Inc. (FIT), will begin shipping footwear in March 2014.
"We are excited about expanding our international presence and thrilled that's happening in Tennessee," said Loretta Lee, the founder of The Merchant House International Group. "Jefferson City is an excellent location for our company because it is centrally positioned in the eastern United States, has excellent logistics infrastructure, and a workforce with skills and experience in the apparel industry."
The company plans to hire 109 employees, beginning its first hiring phase at the end of this year. Experienced sewing machinists and material cutters are encouraged to apply for positions by contacting the Tennessee Career Center at Talbott or by visiting www.jobs4tn.gov. The company will also be looking for operators for a state-of-the-art direct-injection molding machine. FIT is setting up a job-training program to support their business launch.
"Jefferson City is delighted to welcome The Merchant House International Group," said Mayor Mark Potts. "The citizens of Jefferson County have a work ethic without parallel and they will help to make this company a successful business and a great corporate citizen."
The Footwear Division of The Merchant House International Group was established in 1980. Initially the company specialized in work boots, but in 2003 diversified into American-style western boots. The Division operates two shoe factories and in recent years has added production lines to increase capacity to over five million pairs of shoes annually. The Group manufactures footwear in the Tianjin, China area and has shipped its footwear to the United States for 30 years. It supplies major retail chains like Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Sears and has received "Supplier of the Year" awards on a number of occasions. In addition it also makes safety- and non-safety outdoor shoes for a variety of nationally recognized brands.
"Recruiting The Merchant House International Group to Jefferson County was a team effort," said Max Fultz, chair of the Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee. "I want to thank the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development and Bob Thornton of Baker Realty, the listing agent on the building. We look forward to working with the company's leadership as they hire employees and begin operations."