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Springs Creative Expands

Special end uses for fabrics are the key to the growth opportunities for Springs Creative Products Group, the former over-the-counter fabrics division of Springs Industries.

The business was acquired by Derick Close, a member of the longtime family owners of the Springs Mills business. The current business model represents a major expansion beyond fabrics by the yard. "Home crafting has seen a resurgence and special fabric end uses like tarnish-proof and flame-resistant product are growing in importance," said Peter McCabe, national sales manager.

"We see a real opportunity to grow the business in the craft area based on fabrics offered in kit form," he explained — "things like fleece sweatshirt craft kits, patterns for aprons. Home crafts are really coming to life."

Initially the company is looking for exposure in major specialty retailers. It is looking for a wider distribution for all aspects of the business, especially its licensed franchises that range from NASCAR and John Deere, "for which have a huge history as a fabric-based area," as well as a vast range of others including Nickelodeon, Dora the Explorer, Marvel and Superman, Hershey's and Coca Cola, among others.

Another major plus for the firm, McCabe explained, "is our archive of more than 350,000 designs that customers have access to. "We're looking to bring a whole new creative aspect to licensing and brand management," he added.

For market, the company is featuring bedding that ranges from juvenile to tween and the teen-through-college ages: Swagger, a two-piece duvet with the top a fashion design, the bottom a basic, and a top that can be changed. Another new item is Snape, a juvenile comforter set that has tape with snaps that can be embellished with Charms for the Bed accessories. Bed Hoodie is a hooded sweatshirt designed as a top of the bed cover — another new item for market.

Among more basic items is a full collection of throws ranging from microfiber to faux suede. Beach towels and a huge quilt business "in fun designs that also can be throws in tactile materials like sherpa" are other key components of the line.

"But overall, our theme is services and knowledge of the product," he said.

Working with Close in Rock Hill as well as McCabe, who was formerly head of Biederlack USA, are Brian Mathis, director of sales and finished products, and Tom McCaffrey, both formerly of Springs; Gilbert Sheloton, product manager; Cynthia McCloskey, director of retail fabric; Jack Barr, director of licensing; Elizabeth Sipes, design manager; and Bette Rinderman, designer.

A full sales force has been assembled, McCabe said, including Bruce Shively, formerly of Biederlack and Faribo in Seattle covering the West Coast; Mary Kittleson, formerly of JLA Home and Dan River, in Minneapolis; Bob Baron, formerly JLA Home and Dan River, based in Chicago; Brian Ray, formerly of Biederlack and Faribo, based in Cincinnati; and Kelly Wall in New York, formerly of Biederlack.

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