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Southern Company turns to local Alabama company for masks

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Southern Company remains firmly rooted in Our Values and our commitment to teammates, customers and communities. During difficult times like this pandemic, Southern Company always looks to enrich the communities where we work, live and serve, and build them economically and safely. This commitment is on display with Southern Company’s recent partnership with HomTex, a family-owned textile company in Cullman, Alabama.

With recent CDC recommendations to use facial masks and continue maximizing physical distance from others when spending time in public, Southern Company looked to local businesses to supply our need and enable good hygiene.

HomTex, founded in 1987, transitioned from producing bedding and home good products to manufacturing up to 300,000 masks per week. That number will continue to ramp up as HomTex becomes more familiar with the week-to-week process. With this tremendous work, HomTex has kept all 150 of its employees at work.

“When this opportunity presented itself, a lot of people in the textile industry looked to HomTex to lead,” Maury Lyon, HomTex vice president of apparel, said. “It has been a tremendous blessing to provide a high-quality and filtered product that hopefully is helping keep people safe. It is also unique that we could provide a US-made product that we could put into our communities.”

Lyon said when Southern Company reached out to HomTex, it was an easy decision and smooth transition into the partnership.

“Southern Company is committed to helping our communities thrive no matter the time or circumstances, Jeff Franklin, Southern Company senior vice president of supply chain management, said. “HomTex is doing critical and tremendous work for our community and we are thrilled to partner with them. Southern Company will continue to do our part to keep our communities healthy during the national response to COVID-19.”

To date, Southern Company has ordered over 1.5 million dust masks from HomTex along with 500,000 cloth masks. These masks are shipped to Alabama Power Materials Distribution Center, and are then dispersed across all of Southern Company.

Alabama Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth visited the HomTex manufacturing facility in Cullman last week, and is working alongside the company to make their masks FDA-approved. Lyon said they expect the masks to be approved by the FDA within the next week. FDA approval is only needed for masks used in medical settings and isn’t required for facial coverings recommended for most workers and members of the public when social distancing can’t be effectively maintained. 

HomTex, which has additional locations in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, has become a critical asset in Alabama.

“Nothing moves this fast in the textile industry, and the fact we were able to do this over the course of days is amazing,” Jerry Wootten, HomTex CEO, said. “We really just wanted to help our community and find a way to serve them first.

“It is unique that we could use our skills to help the community this quickly. It has been a blessing to supply these needs.”