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Maples sees growth, expands production

At the New York Market - With sales up 10% in the area rugs category and 5% in bath rug already so far this year, Maples Rugs has a lot to celebrate this market.
And the three-generation, family-owned company, which produces all of its goods domestically at its Scottsboro, Ala., facilities, is doing just that - introducing more new and innovative products for both categories, thanks to recent enhancements in production.
"We've spent $4.5 million on new equipment," said Wade Maples, who co-owns and co-operates his family's business with his wife and head of design, Pat, and their son and president/ceo John.
"We're expanding our equipment and our people," he continued. "We've added 25% more capacity in yarn processing and tufting, and we've added another shift of workers for 271 new hires."
In the bath rug category, the new highlight is Maples' TruSoft collection, which is made of Invista's new BCF nylon fine denier fiber by the same name.
"This is our new, softest fiber," Maples noted.
The program comes in three styles: a solid collection, a frise texture grouping, and a combination texture that is made using two Invista fibers - TruSoft and 990 - for a thicker look and feel and more surface appeal.
In the area rug category, the company's expansion of its tufted and printed constructions coupled with more sophisticated applications from its Chromojet translate this market to a broad and very smartly designed offering.
"We have one group that looks like hooked rugs, we have a second group that looks like wool rugs, and then we have various textures within those two attributes," Maples said.
Design here played a key role in making the new area rugs achieve these looks.
"We had a great time designing our area rugs for this market," Pat Maples said. "A lot of my inspiration came from my trip this summer with my 13-year-old grandson. We went to London and Paris, and we visited the museums and the sights, and it inspired me and gave me a lot of different ideas that I applied to our new collections."
Improvements in the U.S. economy have helped Maples this year accelerate its business, Maples said. But so have other factors.
In bath, some of the growth has been driven by a return to traditional nylon rugs. "Customers are now coming back to core nylon product, and it's because it dries faster than cotton and memory foam, and because it is more durable than polyester," Maples said.
In the case of area rugs, the $99 sweet spot so prevalent in the category across most major retailers has opened new doors for Maples' business.
"There is big growth in 5-by-8 tufted and printed rugs under $100 at retail," he said. "It's basic day-in, day-out planogram."
Added John Maples: "As the consumers' price preference came down, there was an opportunity for us with our rugs."

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