Allied Feather + Down opens new manufacturing facility in Montreal’s historic East End
by CM Staff
The plant is currently in the midst of hiring, and they are looking to bolster the 40,000 sq ft of space with a steady supply of finished and raw materials.
TORONTO — Allied Feather + Down was like many other companies in 2019 looking for growth opportunities abroad. As an American down and bedding manufacturer, they were looking to build a Canadian presence to service their Canadian distributors and customers in a more efficient manner. Jonathan Uretsky, VP of Operations at Allied Feather + Down knew Montreal would be a great fit due to its already historic connection to textile and retail manufacturing in the East End.
A tour of the facility can be found here: https://youtu.be/kV40m9fXvKk
“We knew Montreal had a rich history when it came to retail manufacturing and it’s always been one of my favourite cities. I had the opportunity to visit on a fact-finding mission at the end of 2019 to scout locations and we couldn’t be happier with the location. Of course, at that time, we had no idea what was coming,” he said.
Every industry and organization was blindsided by COVID-19, and Allied Feather + Down was no different. The new work from home orders certainly slowed down the facility’s progress, but plant manager Melanie Lamoureux was not deterred.
“We had to get the facility up and running. I stayed here very late into the night, on Zoom with the electrician who showed me how to connect the wires, which cables go where and everything. I had to install all the machines myself,” she said. “I’m very grateful, very thankful for the team here, it was a collective operation and everybody bought in to get the facility up and running.”
The plant is currently in the midst of hiring, and they are looking to bolster the 40,000 sq ft of space with a steady supply of finished and raw materials, all while maintaining proper social distancing protocols. Each machine has the capability to make 30 heavy duvets an hour and over 200 a day.
“We have a cleaner in every week, and between shifts, to properly sanitize the entire facility from top to bottom. Thank God we haven’t had a single COVID-19 case here, and it’s because we are being very careful about everything. Yes, it’s an added cost, but that’s what you have to do.” Melanie Lamoureux said.
With President Biden’s recent announcement of a new ‘Buy American’ program, Jonathan Uretsky was asked if this would deter manufacturers like him from operating and opening facilities north of the border.
“At the end of the day, with the product we’re making, the raw materials are just not available in the US. Whatever we can source locally, we absolutely try to. But when was the last time you ate duck? We have to buy duck and goose feathers internationally, in places where ducks and geese can be found at an industrial scale. So no, Biden’s announcement doesn’t change much for manufacturers like us.” Uretsky said.
US manufacturers like Allied Feather + Down will continue to expand and operate on Canadian soil due to the increased efficiencies afforded here, being able to avoid tariffs, currency fluctuations and other operational roadblocks. The Montreal plant’s opening is an encouraging sign that the industry may be rebounding in 2021.
To listen to our podcast interview with Jonathan Uretsky, please click here: http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/qFIqJ