THOMASTON, GA. — Towels and bathmats in Marriott International hotels throughout the country will soon be American-made, after years of being manufactured overseas, the Bethesda-based hotel giant plans to announce Thursday.
Nearly 3,000 properties around the country will begin transitioning to U.S.-made towels, a process that could take up to three years, according to John Adams, senior vice president of global operations at Marriott. The towels will be made with cotton grown in the United States.
Previously, the company’s towels were made in Jordan, at a plant operated by Standard Textile. Standard Textile is now moving production here.
“If you can bring 150 jobs back to the United States and we can put on all our towels and bath mats ‘Made in the USA,’ I think that gives a certain amount of pride to all of our associates and management,” John Willard “Bill” Marriott Jr., the company’s executive chairman, said on a private flight to tour textile plants on Thursday.
The switch will not cost the company more, Marriott said. The hotel operator currently spends $28 million a year on terry products in the United States. Globally, that figure is $50 million.
Standard Textile, which has been manufacturing textiles for Marriott for over a decade, will add roughly 150 U.S. jobs at two manufacturing plants, one here in the outskirts of Atlanta, and the other in Union, S.C., as well as in the company’s Cincinnati headquarters.
About 110 of those jobs have already been added, and the remaining will be in place by the end of the year, according to Gary Heiman, president and chief executive of Standard Textile.
In total, Marriott will be buying 2.6 million bath towels and 4.9 million hand towels domestically each year, the equivalent to 5.6 million pounds of textiles. Towels are generally phased out every two or three years, according to Adams.
The move eliminates the shipment of roughly 300 ocean container shipments annually, Adams said.
“Today’s customer recognizes local products and their benefits to the environment and economy, perhaps more than ever before,” he added.
Marriott oversees more than 4,400 properties in 87 countries. Last year, the company had annual revenue of more than $14 billion.