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Elrene makes plans to accommodate growth

Elrene Home Fashions, the second-largest table linens supplier with reported sales of $50 million in 2001, is still bursting at the seams, Mark Siegel, president and ceo, told Home Textiles Today.

"I have never seen the reinvention of the wheel with such continuity like we're experiencing here at Elrene," Siegel, the third-generation owner of the company. "But it's because we really keep working at it, and business has been growing and growing."

Elrene's has recently stepped up its licensed programs, like Nautica and Villeroy & Boch, among many others. This factor, along with the enhancement of its kitchen textile offerings as coordinates to its table linens and as standalone goods; the establishment of exclusive retail programs through reverse auctions; and its continued growth in importing from throughout Asia have forced Elrene to dramatically expand the square footage of both its Bronx, NY, facility and its New York City showroom as well as to boost its staff with eight new hires and two promotions in the past several weeks.

"We've outgrown ourselves, and now we need more space and people," Siegel said.

Elrene's Bronx-based facility is currently undergoing an expansion project that will add 50 percent more space — or 50,000 square feet — to the existing 100,000-square-foot factory.

"We expect to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony upon completion, sometime between late August and late September," Siegel said. "Now that we're acting more and more as both a distributor and a manufacturer because we still cut and sew here, we needed more space."

From the factory, which is being updated with state-of-the-art and fully automated machinery, Elrene distributes its kitchen textiles goods — all of which are imported from the Far East — and it cuts and sews and distributes its table linens.

With all the new products it has in demand, Elrene has also been forced to double the size of its current showroom — located at 261 Fifth Avenue — to 1,700 square feet.

Slated to be ready for the April 2003 New York Home Textiles Market, the new and larger space will allow Elrene to accommodate presentations of more new products lines as well as to create more office spaces for its increasing staff. Plans are already in place to relocate the company's credit department to the New York showroom and offices from the Bronx factory.

"My younger son, Craig, has moved here with us in the showroom, and we temporarily have his desk in the hallway because we're so crowded in here," Siegel said. "Some people are doubling up in our offices now. It's crazy. But he will soon have his own office, as will many others."

Those others include eight new hires and two promotions from within Elrene over the past several weeks.

Those promoted are:

  • Craig Siegel, to executive vp, reporting directly to Siegel.

  • And Luz Rodriguez, to design assistant from administrative assistant, and who reports directly to Madeline Parker, designer, and Christine Ullman, vp of design.

Those hired are:

  • Shirley Weiss, sales assistant, who reports directly to Tom Merriman, vp and national sales manager;

  • John Landers, inventory planner, who reports directly to Steve Abramowitz, vp of global sourcing;

  • Jazmine Coriano, in charge of accounts receivable, who reports directly to Ron Felber, cfo and cio;

  • Cornelia Arthur, import assistant, who reports directly to Jasmine Grant, import coordinator;

  • Zarrin Chaudry, MIS/EDI manager, who reports directly to Felber;

  • Maureen Ciaccio, West regional sales manager, who reports directly to Merriman;

  • Steve Battino, operations manager, who reports directly to Siegel and Bryan Siegel, coo;

  • Saylor Goforth, assistant stylist, who reports to Barbara Menendez and Judy Fishbaugh, both senior designers.

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