Bangladesh textile company opening factory in Detroit switches gears to manufacture masks

Posted at 5:52 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 18:26:10-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A conglomerate company from Bangladesh sets their eyes on the Motor City. The textile business was making plans to open a clothing factory in Detroit but with the pandemic, they’re shifting their focus to make masks and gowns.

“We felt it is a suitable place. We are getting a lot of support,” BEXIMCO CEO Syed Naved Husain said.

Bangledesh Export Import Company known as BEXIMCO is a large textile and pharmaceutical business. They make clothes for many well-known brands and designers.

In the past couple of years, they have been working with a Chicago-based company in hopes of making clothes in the U.S. with a factory in Detroit.

“I think there is a real opportunity to make clothes in America again,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan explained.

However, because of the pandemic, Husain tells us they changed plans.

“The fashion industry came down,” he explained. “All the retail shops closed worldwide, so we decided to leverage our textiles.”

Instead of clothes, they are making protective hospital gear like face masks. The company is making a $20 million investment in Detroit.

BEXIMCO is looking at several locations to build a factory with a goal to be up and running in less than a year. So why did they pick the Motor City? The CEO says Detroit is affordable, diverse and local officials are supportive.

Mayor Duggan says Detroiters are hardworking and willing to learn new skills.

“Who are ready to go to work and I think this is the right place. If you’re going to make things, Detroit is where you got to come,” Duggan added.

The first phase of the factory will create about 50 jobs. BEXIMCO is hoping to grow from there. The CEO says they are loyal to their staff in Bangledesh and committed to protecting the environment.

“Not just look at profit but look at profit, people, planet and do things right,” Husain said. “We want to come to Detroit with that value system.”

Once they begin production, the personal protection equipment will be sold locally first before being shipped out to other areas.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.