• David Perry

MidWest Nonwovens set to grow as polyester fiber supplier

Furniture, bedding supplier operating former Western Nonwovens plant

SAUGET, Ill. — The former Western Nonwovens facility here has reopened as MidWest Nonwovens and is catering to the mattress and furniture industries.

 Bryan Speight, left, and Chris Look of MidWest Nonwovens see a bright future for their new company.Bryan Speight, left, and Chris Look of MidWest Nonwovens see a bright future for their new company.

Several former Western Nonwovens executives are involved in the new venture, which is poised for growth this year, officials said. They said the company is providing products that can help bedding and furniture makers cut their costs, a key to competing in today's challenging business climate.

Bryan Speight, who was with Western Nonwovens for 11 years, the past six as Midwest general manager, is the president and CEO of MidWest Nonwovens. His partner is Chris Look, who worked for Western since 2002, and now is chief operating officer and is in charge of day-to-day operations at the 79,000-square-foot plant.

MidWest Nonwovens is making polyester fiber batting. It will not manufacture or sell fire-resistant products to the mattress industry, a business in which Western Nonwovens was formerly involved. "We are truly focused on the polyester fiber business," Speight said.

The Speight group purchased the Sauget facility for an undisclosed amount late last year from Milliken, which had acquired Western Nonwovens' assets.

"We were immediately welcomed back by many of our old customers and quickly restarted the facility," Speight said. "Currently we are running five days, 24 hours a day, to make orders. We are continually looking for new customers as we have another thermal bond line coming online in the May-June timeframe."

Speight said the company has invested more than $500,000 in a new thermal bond oven to expand its business. The new facilities will enable the producer to double its capacity on densified pads used for foam replacement in the mattress and furniture industries.

"We see this as a growth segment as manufacturers look for methods to reduce their growing costs," he said. "With our capabilities, we are able to manufacture any highloft or lowloft batting to meet the needs of Midwest and East Coast manufacturers."

MidWest Nonwovens is serving customers within a 450-mile radius of the Sauget facility.

A number of former Western Nonwovens officials and workers are on the staff at MidWest Nonwovens. The customer service and logistics manager is Lisa Szymanski, who worked at the Sauget plant for 13 years. Sales manager Garrett Morris worked for Western since 2004. Mike Szymanski, who worked for Western and its predecessor company for almost 30 years, is maintenance and production manager.

In addition, MidWest rehired 15 former Western plant employees who had spent four to 26 years with the company.

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

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