Matouk & Co. preparing for next step with $9.5 million expansion

August 30, 2013 : The Herald News, by Jo C. Goode

FALL RIVER — The $9.5 million expansion and renovation project of the luxury linen and bedding manufacturer John Matouk & Co., located in the Fall River Industrial Park, broke ground last week.

“This project really helps us build the company going forward and grow for another generation,” said George Matouk, company CEO. Matouk & Co. operates at 925 Airport Road.

The plan includes construction of a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing building that will nearly double the size of the facility, with its existing 47,000-square-foot plant, according to Peter Brust, director of finance and accounting.

Brust said with the expansion of the company, Matouk will add 45 new jobs in the next five years, adding to the approximately 90 existing staff.

Matouk said the company has been fortunate to grow steadily in the past eight years since Matouk moved from New Bedford.

There was a downturn in business between 2008 and 2009, but the company came out pretty strong, Matouk said.

“We realized we outgrew our facility much faster than we thought,” Matouk said.

They identified a need for expansion in manufacturing, distribution and office and administration space.

In 2011, the company identified a 6-acre parcel on Robb Way, near the current facility, that was fully developable, Matouk said.

A portion of the land was subdivided by a quarter-acre, and the new facility will be built on the 5.7-acre site.

Mayor Will Flanagan called the company “a leader in manufacturing” high-end products, and he said it is an asset to the city.

“It's uplifting to see textile manufacturing in Fall River,” Flanagan said.

With the expected trend of manufacturing industries that moved to places like Asia returning to the this country, Flanagan said he hopes the success that Matouk has had in Fall River could attract other manufacturing companies to the city.

The growth of Matouk, which was started by the CEO's grandfather in 1929, is owed in some part to the help of local government and local and state economic development agencies.

“It has had a huge impact,” Matouk said.

Just this week, it was announced the company was awarded a $6.92 million tax-exempt bond from MassDevelopment to renovate its existing facility, construct its new facility and purchase and install new and more efficient manufacturing equipment.

In May, the City Council approved a second tax increment financing agreement with the company. The TIF provides the city with the new investment of $203,440 in tax revenue a year, with a 50 percent tax exemption over a 10-year period to Matouk.

In exchange, the company promises to add 45 jobs in the next five years and retain 87 jobs.

After 10 years, Matouk would see a savings of more than $1 million in tax exemptions, and the city would see the same amount of money in tax revenue.

In 2006, after the company purchased its current property with a single-story metal building for $2.2 million, it received the first TIF and obtained a five-year tax break with the agreement that the manufacturer would retain the 45 employees that worked at the time and add 12 new jobs. The agreement was met.

In May, the state Senate gave the city approval for a home-rule petition for a land exchange between the city and Matouk to move ahead on the planned replacement of an existing water tower, which will improve water pressure to companies in the industrial park.

Matouk said, if it weren't for the economic development incentives, his company would not have the ability to invest in an expansion and create new jobs in the city.