Vendors assess the fallout
September 17, 2001-- Home Textiles Today,
Many home textiles offices here and around the country re-opened within a day of the terrorist attack.
While it remains to be seen what kind of impact the events will ultimately have on business, industry executives shared their early impressions.
Creative Bath Products Inc.
national sales manager
"As an intelligent adult you don't understand it yourself.
"As for business, I definitely feel there will be some form of downside. I hope not, but, realistically, when you put it into perspective, how do you go out and buy a new shower curtain in a time like this? Our lives will never be the same, but we still have to go on living. We're tough and humble, but definitely tough."
vp of sales
"I don't think it matters where you import from. It's just that customs brokers will be tougher and tougher. There's a lot of opportunity for delays.
"The wound is too new to really make any judgments.
"We're getting a constant flow of product.
"My concern is the unknown — a heightened sense of security around the world will affect many aspects of our lives, like container shipments being strenuously scrutinized."
Hellenic Rug Imports
"I've got three containers on hold until U.S. customs opens. I don't know how long it will take to get them. I think this country is too powerful to let that go on too long. But air freight is dead for now.
"Our phone lines — especially our toll free number — are not working. Our Internet access hasn't been bad. But our website is down."
president and managing director
"I think it will affect travel because I know some importers who were going to Pakistan this week for product and have canceled trips.
"My [import] pipelines are open and our orders are flowing in. There is no such thing as stop and go for us in that regard.
"And we feel our name with customs is well known. Even as security tightens, they won't harass you if they know you the way they've known us for years."
Saddle Brook, NJ
director of creative marketing
"Our Internet access went down and probably will remain that way for a while. But we're hanging in there doing business the old-fashioned way — by phone.
"This tragedy may put a temporary crimp in the recovery of the economy. But the people of Israel have lived with this threat for years — literally surrounded by it — and yet they've built a prosperous and thriving democratic society. It gives us hope."
Park B. Smith Ltd.
Park B. Smith Jr.
"The effects still remain to be seen, but it's definitely going to change travel. I don't think buyers won't come to New York City for market, but I don't think there will be any more day trips.
"We had tons of phone calls from all over country. Our customers have been great with us."
Revere Mills Inc.
vp of marketing and product development
"We're already making contingency plans in case we have problems getting our imports.
"If international flights open back up, no problem. But if not, over the next several weeks we may have to send our products through Canada.
"Our friends in Pakistan are extremely concerned, being a Muslim country."
vp of sales
"We have some big events coming up with big accounts, and it's still going on as planned. In fact, our people from China have been calling us to ask if we're seeing any problems. So far, we aren't."
director of public relations
"Things are getting back to normal slowly but surely. All of our shipments are flown in from Europe, so those were all halted for a few days. Now we're not even sure if we'll be attending the Home Textiles show. Since we are based in California, most of our families are here, and we don't want to be 3,000 miles away from them in case something else happens."
The Arlee Group
ceo and president
"My plants in Missouri and Arkansas [one plant in Arkansas and 5 in Missouri] and my other plants in Pakistan and China are running overtime six days a week. This tragedy is hurting the retail business, but in a week or 10 days it will all be over. Americans have a short memory and forget — that's fine, as long as our government doesn't forget. But Americans are very resilient people."
executive vp and general manager
"We've seen no signs of major business problems so far. As for imports, we have a distribution center in North Carolina, and everything is coming in through there so we don't see any disruptions in that respect.
"We have all of our product for market. Of course, the courier services have been down in last few days, but we expect them to start up again soon. UPS delivered a package to us Thursday. But if need be, we'll just go pick up product ourselves, which I don't think will be the case; but I'll go to Brazil if I have to."
Town & Country
design director, decorative pillows
"We're not concerned about getting our imports — the government will clean up and the airports will reopen."
"Products should be coming in as soon as the airlines open. Already, we have 75 percent to 80 percent here. We feel like we're in pretty good shape already for market.
"We will bounce back, but it will take time and now we're just digesting what happened."
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