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In new space, Mahdavis fires up looms

After recently moving into its new 500,000-square-foot corporate headquarters, area rug supplier Mahdavis now has the room and infrastructure to produce its own line of area rugs domestically — a first for the company.

Based here since January, when it moved from its former site of about one-fourth the size in Doraville, GA, Mahdavis recently finished setting up two new weaving looms and has two more under construction expected to be up and running by the middle of the fall. Soon after that, more looms will be added to the facility. The new site is home to Mahdavis' corporate offices, manufacturing plant and warehouse for its imported and domestically produced goods, according to Shields Smith, executive vp of marketing.

These new looms are producing several collections of polypropylene area rugs in up to 36 designs.

The launch of the first line is slated for next week during the Atlanta International Area Rug Show, July 13 to 16, at the AmericasMart.

Because of their woven polypropylene construction, the new line represents a new more affordable price bracket for Mahdavis, which typically sells its handmade, hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs from oversees for upstairs prices — for example, $3,500 for a 5' x 8' hand-knotted rug from China. By comparison, a 5' x 8' polypropylene rug is set to retail for between $89 to $199.

Smith said this new venture represents "bigger business with fewer customers" — a complement to Mahdavis' current approach of somewhat smaller business with many retail partners.

"We saw some niches in the marketplace that needed to be filled, and so far we're finding that we were right," Smith continued. "With this new line, we're trying to cover as much of the rug spectrum [as possible]."

Smith admitted that the new venture has been "a very big investment" but one that has been equally worth it.

"There is still plenty of room for expansion in the total rug market," he said, "and this is one area of distribution that is as of yet untapped."

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