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J.R. United integrates new facility

Lisa Ashcraft, Cecile Corral -- Home Textiles Today, December 2, 2002

International Terry Products, affiliate and sister company to towel importer J.R. United Industries Inc., recently purchased defunct Davidson Cotton's embroidery and embellishment factory in Matamoros, Mexico, and relocated equipment from that facility to its company headquarters here.

The acquisition represents a new business initiative and the importer's first factory, Salo Grosfeld, president, International Terry Products and J.R. United, told Home Textiles Today.

"It's a piece of the towel business that we've never been in; but this will give us the opportunity to be a serious player immediately because the capacity is there," Grosfeld explained. "We feel the opportunity to go into the embellished and embroidery business is very exciting and another way for us to stay competitive."

Jeff Deutschman, an investor in Davidson Cotton, said his company sold to International Terry Products the factory's equipment, designs, machinery, "Abouchar" label and all the remaining inventory of embellished and embroidered towels. He said the factory was Davidson Cotton's only embellishment and embroidery factory.

"All of the equipment and machinery was recent," he said. "None of it was more than eight years old."

Grosfeld said his company, which historically has focused its product mix mainly on jacquard and fiber-reactive bath and beach towels, will use the blanks it imports from Brazil, China, Colombia, India and Pakistan and elsewhere for the new line of embroidered and embellished towels to expand the breadth of its offerings, as well as step up product price points.

"Our average jacquard sells for $9.99, but our average embroidered towel will be $16.99," Grosfeld said.

In August, International Terry Products moved all of the factory machinery into a building here of more than 50,000 square feet that the company already owned and had been using as extra storage space within its 280,000-square-foot distribution center and administrative offices here.

Aiding the company in this new initiative is newly appointed design director Jorge Gonzalez, former owner of New Design, a high-end home store based in South Beach, FL, with other units in Coconut Grove, FL, and Chicago. Gonzalez will be head of all design for the embellishment and embroidery business as well as J.R. United's Izod licensed line of goods. He reports directly to Grosfeld.

J.R. United, which will conduct all sales and marketing initiatives for the new line, first showed its existing customers — discounters, mid-tier and department store retailers — a few samples in October at the New York Home Textiles Market.

The official launch of product will be in January, Grosfeld explained. At that point, the company will be prepared to debut with 50 to 60 different styles encompassing up to three price points — $9.99 to $19.99.

Also helping differentiate the line from the rest of the company's goods, J.R. United will use a new label for the embroidered and embellished products. But the company is still designing the logo and has not yet disclosed the name.

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