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Haywin builds on legacy of 55 years

Haywin Textiles Products recently commemorated its 55th anniversary. The original incorporation of Haywin Textiles was run out of a small storefront at 53 Segal Street in Brooklyn, NY. Initially owned and operated by Jack Haft and his brother-in-law Seymour Weinstein, the small company sold retail goods out of its front door and wholesale goods out of the back.

In 1961, Jack retired and sold his share of the company to his son Alfred, who had begun his career with Haywin as a traveling salesman covering upstate New York. Four years later, Weinstein passed away and control of the company was given entirely to Alfred, who focused Haywin strictly on the wholesale business. His largest supplier at the time was Cannon Mills, and his largest sales volume over the years was a handsome $13.5 million.

"I bought my share of the business from my father for $5,000," said Alfred, who continues to run Haywin's wholesale and export businesses from Brooklyn. "It was a pretty large amount then, but look what it has turned into."

Now with its headquarters operating at 106 Bayard Street, roughly 10 blocks from the original location, the privately owned and operated Haywin is preparing to make the jump from a company known for its private-label business to a manufacturer and sourcer of brand label goods.

The day-to-day operation of the company has passed to Alfred's three sons. Gregg, the ceo and president, joined the company in 1982 along with Scott, the executive in charge of distribution and planning. Joshua, the company's secretary and treasurer who also helps run the wholesale division, came on in 1991.

Haywin's first overseas import marketing program began in 1987 with Thailand and China. Hoping to fill product voids as U.S.-based mills increasingly dealt directly with customers, Haywin imported products for the bed, bath and kitchen categories. The sourcing operations grew between 1987 and 1991 as the company worked to develop its own packaging, design and line structure to accommodate the relatively new world of sourcing. By 1991, marketing import programs had begun in five different countries, including Mexico.

"Very rapidly the tail started to wag the dog, and we more than doubled our sales between those years," Gregg said.

Three years later, Haywin consolidated all of its Mexican activity into one strategic alliance/joint venture with a vertical factory, giving itself the capability to control all of its North American manufacturing and the ability to add to its import operations.

"What we're aiming to be is a home textiles manufacturing and marketing company that combines all of a vertical manufacturer's strengths with the best that global sourcing has to offer under a variety of brands, each brand lending itself to a specific retailer's distribution," Gregg said.

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