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Cecile Corral

Brumlow looks to clean up in towels with Hilasal

The founders and owners of bath and accent rug manufacturer Brumlow Home recently signed a letter of intent to take over bath and beach towel supplier Hilasal.

The acquisition of Hilasal, now dubbed Fashion Towels Imports Corp., positions it as a separate but sister entity to Brumlow Home, which is co-owned by Tommy and Mitchell Brumlow, father and son, respectively — with the latter also president. The deal is expected to be finalized by May 1.

"It's a product category that really complements what we already do — bath and accent rugs," Mitchell Brumlow told Home Textiles Today. All of Brumlow Home's rugs are made of 100 percent nylon. "We'll treat it as a separate company, but one that works with Brumlow Home in certain aspects. We'll use all the cost-saving synergies that make sense."

Some such synergies include the continued use of the Hilasal name as the brand for the beach towel line; maintaining partnerships with Hilasal's long roster of licensors for beach towels; the sharing of some sales forces between Brumlow Home and Fashion Towels; and the use of the 250,000-square-foot warehousing facility here where Brumlow Mills is headquartered for storage and distribution of all towels.

"We have tons of room to grow there," Brumlow said. "It's a state-of-the-art distribution center where we'll be able to consolidate the new towel business. The facility is adjacent to our manufacturing facility where we make our bath and accent rugs."

Fashion Towels will move to new offices but remain in Miami, where Hilasal was originally located. In addition, Larry Martineau, national sales manager for Hilasal, will keep the same post at Fashion Towels.

Brumlow will replace Dick Greenberg as president and co-owner of Fashion Towels. Greenberg's future plans were not available at press time. Tommy Brumlow will only act as co-owner of Fashion Towels.

Among one of the other few changes resulting from the acquisition is that the embroidered and embellished towel collections will now be marketed under the new brand Madeleigh by Hilasal, "which we created," Mitchell Brumlow said.

The Fashion Towel business is composed of fiber-reactive beach towels and free-standing cotton bath towels that are mainly embellished and embroidered, ranging from $9.99 to $17.99. Only a very narrow portion will be solid-color, featuring "value-added" features like dobby borders, jacquard hem edges and minor embellishments for $6.99 and $7.99, Brumlow said. The target retail customers include mid-tier to upper-end stores.

The entire line will continue to be supplied exclusively by San Salvador, El Salvador-based towel manufacturer and exporter Hilasal, which has the same name as the company the Brumlows are acquiring but is actually a separate company.

Hilasal records annual sales of approximately $100 million.

Mitchell Brumlow cited the beneftits of his exclusive partnership with Hilasal: "The great thing about importing 100 percent of our towels from Hilasal is it takes no more than seven to 10 days to receive the product from El Salvador and Mexico," Hilasal manufacturers its towels from two sites — its headquarters in San Salvador and another site in Guadalajara, Mexico. "That is far better compared to upwards of 45 days from India, for example."

For the Brumlows, who founded Brumlow Home in 1981, Fashion Towels represents their first entry into importing.

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