(Photo special to Tube City Almanac)
A Duquesne-based company that bills itself as one of the largest manufacturers of pillows and bedding accessories in the United States will receive a grant that could clear the way for future expansion, according to a state senator.
State Sen. Jim Brewster said American Textile Co. is receiving a $1.5 million grant to allow it to remediate part of the former U.S. Steel Duquesne Works, where its headquarters and a factory that employs more than 200 people is located.
Both part of the existing factory space as well as part of the neighboring property will be cleaned and cleared of contamination left over from steelmaking operations, Brewster said in a prepared statement.
“The grant for American Textile will not only remediate the area it now uses for manufacturing, but it will make even more space available for continued development,” Brewster said. “Investing state dollars of this magnitude into a local company and helping it explore new areas for expansion will result in more jobs and economic growth.”
Founded in 1925 by the Ruttenberg family, which still owns the company, American Textile manufactures pillows, mattress covers and other accessories that are sold through major retailers including Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Sears, Bon-Ton, Macy's and hundreds of other stores.
It relocated to Duquesne in 2005 after consolidating plants in Sharpsburg and Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood. The company also operates facilities in Utah, Texas and Georgia, as well as in several foreign countries, employing more than 1,100 people worldwide, according to its website.
The money is being provided through the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, Brewster's office said.
RACP grants are authorized by the state General Assembly and must be used to fund redevelopment projects that promote economic growth by preserving existing jobs or adding new jobs.
State officials said that American Textile plans to use the grant money to excavate soil that was contaminated by the Duquesne Works, which closed in 1984. Part of the work will include tearing up part of the factory floor, excavating 10 to 15 feet down, backfilling with clean dirt, and pouring a new concrete slab, state officials said.
About 100,000 square feet is expected to be remediated, state officials said.
Brewster called American Textile "a critical part of the economic base of Duquesne" and a vital part of the "resurgence" of manufacturing in the Mon Valley.
“American Textile is strategically located and will be close to the future Mon Fayette Expressway,” he said. “The company continues to be a good partner and part of the future of the Valley.”
Originally published December 23, 2017.