Owen's Smith resigns as sales, mktg. chief

Don Hogsett, June 1, 2001

SWANNANOA, NC — In a sudden big shift at Charles D. Owen Mfg., the nation's second-largest supplier of conventional adult and juvenile blankets, Tedd Smith, head of sales and marketing and a long-time fixture of the domestic blanket business, has abruptly resigned from the company.

Smith was unavailable as of press time to make known his future plans after five and a half years at Owen.

Taking his place as sales and marketing chief at Owen is Dave Fraser, who joined the blanket producer about 18 months ago after spending 10 years at Pillowtex Corp., as well as earlier stints at Cannon Mills and as an independent sales rep. At Owen, Fraser has been responsible for sales to department and specialty stores.

"We're really excited about what Dave is going to be doing for us in his new job," said Charles Owen III, president. "Dave has brought us a lot of business with the specialty stores and the department stores in the year and a half he's been with us.

"I joined Pillowtex 10 years ago, and at Pillowtex 10 years is a very, very long time," chuckled Fraser. "I started there as a sales rep, and then became a regional sales manager and blanket marketing manager. I was a regional sales manager for the Fieldcrest brand."

Fraser said he broke into the industry "fresh out of college, when I got a job at Cannon Mills. I was five years there, and then I was an independent rep for five years before joining up with Pillowtex.

"In my old job at Owen, in the department store side, we had pretty good success building the Wamsutta brand and developing private label for the big-box specialty stores. We want to build on those two areas and really take the business forward. There's a tremendous opportunity for us out there. As shaky as the blanket marketplace is, we're the one rock, and our customers understand that now."

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