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Sunshine finding a niche in 'insurance' for U.S.

TORONTO – While the base of U.S. griege goods suppliers has rapidly dwindled under pressure from overseas sources, the scion of a Pakistani mill family has opened a griege mill in Canada — hoping to fill the turn-around gap for U.S. orders for better quality goods.

Incorporated in October 2000, Sunshine Mills cranked up its equipment in late spring of last year and operates out of a 100-loom factory in New Brunswick. Current production capacity is 1 million yards per month, and all the looms are equipped for off-loom batching, according to president Mukhtar Sumar.

"We want to provide a kind of insurance for the U.S. supplier industry," he said. "There is always a need for a high-end weaver who can do the kind of goods that can't be done efficiently in the U.S. — the 300-count, 400-count sheeting. Our advantage is that we can transport goods from Canada to the Carolinas in just three days."

Sunshine vp of sales, John Cavanagh, noted that U.S. mill closings have eliminated some 700 million yards of greige good production from the country. He predicted that the elimination of quotas in 2005 will put increased pressure on Asian sourcers.

"People think all of that overseas production is going to come here to the U.S. But it's also going to be demanded in Europe and South America," Cavanagh said.

Over the next two years, Sunshine plans to double the number of looms and add spinning capacity, Sumar told HTT.

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