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Jennifer Marks

1888 Bucks Up One-Stop Status

OAKBROOK, ILL. - With its acquisition of window manufacturer Beacon Looms last week, longtime towel manufacturer 1888 Mills added to its product portfolio in a move designed to make it more of a one-stop resource for major retailers.
     1888 Mills was the 14th largest home textiles supplier to the U.S. market in 2010, with total sales of about $240 million. It is the country's second largest supplier of bath towels and fourth largest of kitchen textiles with 2010 sales of approximately $180 million and $32 million, respectively.
     The company expanded into bedding previously and debuted a bedding and bath collection under license from HGTV celebrity David Bromstad during last month's New York Home Fashions Market. It also manufactures bedding and bath under the Wild Olive brand.
     Terms o f the transaction for Beacon Looms - a family-owned company established in 1914 - were not disclosed.
     "We want to be a whole home solution," said Fulton Allen, president of retail sales for 1888. "This just makes us more valuable to our customer base."
     The deal also includes Beacon Looms' office in China, where Beacon has been operating for years. 1888 already has owned manufacturing in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana and the United States.
     Said Jonathan Simon, ceo of 1888 Mills: "For us to integrate that excellence into our own growing, global operation is a win for both companies and especially for our customers."
     Beacon will remain headquartered in Teaneck, N.J. Beacon executive vp Jonathan Sadinoff and senior vp of sales and merchandising Sandy McNeil will join 1888 along with several other Beacon associates.
     Beacon's New York showroom will be consolidated into 1888's by fall 2012.
     "We know Beacon is in good hands," said Sy Sadinoff, former ceo of Beacon Looms. "From the beginning, we felt comfortable knowing our legacy of the past 97 years, as well as our dedication to our customers would be well preserved by 1888 Mills."
     Beacon Looms holds over 100 patents on design and manufacturing of window curtains. "That expertise in window," said Allen, "is what makes Beacon Looms an essential part of our retail strategy."
     While much of Beacon's window business is stand-alone, the company also produces coordinates to go with its bedding designs - an expertise that 1888 will apply to its bedding business as well, according to Lexi Schladenhauffen, the mill's vp of marketing and design.
     "Because we have such a great bedding platform, this is a great add-on," she said.
     "We very much look forward to being part of the 1888 family and the tremendous opportunities this new venture brings to our customers," said McNeil.

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