The Hong Kong-based maker of private-label safety, Western and agricultural footwear recently acquired a 40,000-sq.-ft. building in Jefferson City, Tenn., where it will produce footwear for distribution in the U.S.
“There was a demand for U.S.-made product,” said Stephanie Kaemmerer, operations manager for the company, which will operate as Footwear Industries of Tennessee. Product will begin shipping in March 2014. During its first phase of production, the company expects to make about 200,000 pairs.
In addition to selling its U.S.-sourced goods in the States, the firm will continue to distribute its Asian products here. Currently, Merchant House manufactures shoes in its two factories in China, shipping industrial footwear to retailers including Walmart, Kmart and Sears.
The firm plans to hire more than 100 employees, including experienced sewing machinists and material cutters at the outset. A job-training program will support the initiative.
According to Kaemmerer, the company will be seeking new avenues of distribution in the U.S.