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Cafaro to head mktg at Terrisol

After spending the past six years establishing itself as a domestic supplier of beach and bath towels and table linens, Terrisol Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian-based Karsten, is taking on a bigger mission that will extend its reach into new product categories and new markets.

Piloting it into these uncharted waters is John Cafaro, who was recently appointed as chief marketing officer — a position created as part of Terrisol's restructuring effort.

Cafaro replaces J.R. Schmitt, who became interim coo and vp of Terrisol after Eric Vergucht resigned from his post as executive vp and general manager in November.

"Up to now, Terrisol has been a mill trying to sell what it was producing," Schmitt said. "Now we'd like to contribute to the market in a better and bigger way with more product lines. We'll look for goods made elsewhere. But at this stage we're still exploring our options."

Schmitt said Terrisol recently added upholstery fabrics to its offerings, a business parent company Karsten "has already been doing for years," he said.

The next new product categories, he said, will complement the company's current offerings.

Schmitt had spent the past 15 years working for Karsten, most recently as the company's export manager handling all international accounts, when he relocated here to assume the interim post at Terrisol.

"With his extensive experience, [Cafaro] knows well the U.S. market but also understands the realities of working and dealing internationally in the worldwide markets," said Schmitt, who will now return to his former post with Karsten in Brazil and is expected to work on more related projects overseas.

Cafaro will maintain Vergucht's former responsibilities, but with a larger emphasis on marketing and sales.

"Terrisol has the right formula for success already in place — sales, design, marketing, warehousing and distribution — here in the U.S.," Cafaro said. "Going forward, we'll tighten things up in marketing and pull our lines together. But the formula is right."

Cafaro's previous experience includes 19 years at WestPoint Stevens in several capacities. Most recently he was vp of sales for Kmart, Sears and regional mass retailers, bed and bath division. Prior to that he was WPS' vp of international business development.

Cafaro reports directly to Joao Karsten Neto, who is vp, Karsten.

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