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Sferra Gets Serious in Hospitality

Edison, N.J. — Sferra's recent partnership with the Thompson Hotel Group opens a new front for the fine linen maker, which has now created a line of luxury linens for the high-end hospitality trade.

Although Sferra had previously done business with 20 or 30 bed & breakfast independents, it had not pursued hotel as a channel, said Paul Hooker, president and owner. Going after the business meant putting together a presentation and identifying top-line hotel chains.

Sferra is targeting hotels “only where we believe our customer is their customer,” Hooker said. “These are people paying $500 to $600 a night. We tell them, 'Our customer is staying in your hotel, and we feel we're the best-known brand that's promoted nationwide.'”

While Sferra prepares to attend its first hospitality trade show this fall, the company has already learned the channel has unique selling challenges.

“The major difference is this: all better retail stores know Sferra. The hospitality purchasing agent probably doesn't. He's buying thousands of skus of hotel product,” Hooker said.

So the company will take aim at the ceo level for top-to-top brand presentations, then work down to the purchasing agent. Sferra has developed a 400-count Pima that resists pilling and can withstand the rigors of daily washing, Hooker said. The goal is to use the luxury bedding as a foundation for a luxury hospitality program that will include blankets, throws, towels, and bath robes.

“We're going about it in a small, controlled way,” he added. “In week one, our goal isn't to furnish the Ritz and the Four Seasons. We'd love to, would aspire to, of course. But our approach is to build a base and move up from there.”

In that sense, the program is already getting underway. The New York Times' Style Magazine on Oct. 1 identified Sferra linens as the No. 1 “pro” factor for staying at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, the Thompson Group's Los Angeles property.

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