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Classic Linens gives new start to 3 execs

Marvin Lazaro, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, October 7, 2002

The home textiles industry gets its first look at Classic Linens this October market, a new company manned by some familiar faces.

After their exit from now-defunct Davidson Cotton last year, Steve Puckett, Jim Fitzgibbons and John Coles launched Classic Linen, a manufacturer and supplier of a wide variety of towels, terry cloth accessories and bath robes.

Puckett and Fitzgibbons are the principals for Classic, while Coles is the head of institutional and premium product sales.

Classic will produce cotton terry cloth towels and companion items at a new facility in Mexico equipped with warping, slashing, dobby and jacquard looms, jet beck dyeing, loop drying and automatic hemming machinery. The new towels feature a variety of solid colors, embellishments and prints.

Classic also announced it has opened a new showroom at 290 Fifth Ave. on the fifth floor.

Puckett said he believed the proximity of Classic's facilities to the U.S.-Mexico border, a drive of roughly 18 hours, is especially vital in a world where keeping costs down is paramount. And since NAFTA took effect several years ago, Classic does not have to pay any duties or adhere to any quotas. The freight costs are also much lower since all of the product is being transported by tractor trailer, Puckett said.

"We have no container loads sitting in a warehouse waiting to be processed," Puckett told Home Textiles Today. "The turn-around time, that's the whole thing — and the premise of what we're pitching. Other manufacturers are always going to have 30 days on a ship. We have, at most, another day in a trailer.

"The more we looked at the cost, the more we realized it was a perfect fit. There's lots of advantages to Mexico."

The products coming from Mexico are aimed at the mid to upper tiers of retail. Classic is also dabbling in some promotional products; however, only those items are being sourced from Pakistan. Price ranges for either a 27" x 50" or 30" x 54" towel made in Mexico go from $7.99 to $19.99.

Puckett said that it was especially important that anyone who visits Classic's showroom walk away knowing that it is not a fly-by-night operation nor one that is just dabbling in the U.S. marketplace.

"This is the original dream but with a whole new vision behind it," he said. "We believe there's a place in the market for a manufacturer that is close to the United States that can product high-quality, low-cost goods.

"We believe in the theory, and we think it's right."

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