Classic Cullman 2017 - Page 109

here, in the middle offices of this facility,” says Wootten’s daughter, Christina Dew. She’s standing in the cutting room doorway of the flagship production factory for Homtex — the Wooten family’s Cullman-based textile company. Along with her parents and her brother, Jeremy Wootten, Dew remains a part of the close-knit team that continues to run Homtex as a family business. Dew explains how, from a modest beginning, her family grew her dad’s original idea into a business that now supplies branded bed sheets for some of the world’s most recognizable upscale companies. “For a year, we actually lived here,” she says. “There was a kitchen and all the necessary stuff, and mom and dad would stay here and sew. They were very hands-on, and we had a little living quarters here. Eventually, dad started doing this out of a building across from my grandmother’s house, with just a few sewing machines. From there, we moved to a facility in the Spring Hill community, but after a while we outgrew that. The company innovated and patented not only the retaining strap idea, but also a deep-pocket design that allows fitted sheets to fit crisply over mattresses of varying thickness. It also began making its flat sheets larger than competitors, allowing for more wiggle room and a generous fit. “All that time, we were just slowly building the product up; obtaining patents, and getting contracts,” explains Dew. “We made a contract with Select Comfort — the biggest customer for our sheets, on our patent — and then we made one outside sale to another customer…and it just took off from there.” Homtex, headquartered in a state-of-the art facility near the Battleground community on Alabama HIghway 157, now operates a handful of U.S.-based manufacturing sites in Tennessee, the Carolinas, and just down the road in Blount County. With a global customer base, the company also maintains offices in China and India. When buyers of high-end brands like Sleep Number and Tempur-Pedic purchase bed sheets to accompany their new mattresses, they’re buying custom-fitted sheets made by Homtex. The Woottens are proud that all their products are made in the U.S., and they’re equally proud that the business Jerry started three decades ago is still very much a family affair. We’re just proud they — and their still-growing business — continue to call Cullman County home. - 109 classic 2016.indd 109 8/31/2016 10:21:26 PM