Contractors Finding Ways to Survive Offshore
Shift Postal Service,Habitat for Humanity,
PCA seek domestic apparel = production.
Monday, Nov. 2, 1998, page 2 by Brenda Lloyd
news reports of more and more apparel manufacturers' shifting
production to Mexico and other South of the Border countries
keep coming in, but many U.S.-based contractors are keeping
their businesses alive by touting quality and minimum runs.
Members of the American Apparel Producers' Network (AAPN)
gathered at the Perdido Beach Resort here recently for the
group's fall meeting to exchange ideas and learn new ways
to improve their operations. Most are doing well now, but
some say its because the contracting base in the U.S. has
shrunk. Others have found niche businesses, such as uniforms
and career apparel, as a way to replace manufacturing that
has gone offshore. Some have found profitable answers by
adding their own label to replace lost customers while still
maintaining the contract side of their businesses. Others
are doing work for catalog houses, including L.L. Bean who
want a made-in-U.S.A. label.
Three more opportunities were presented at the meeting:
Most contractors, who say they
have made changes in their companies to increase sales,
had a good year in 1998 and are projecting a good 1999.
For example, Joe Altonji, vice-president of Valtex, Inc.,
Scottsboro, AL, said his company has increased sales 40
percent in each of the past two years, and he expects sales
to increase another 25 to 35 percent in 1999. And Gary Reitzas,
president of North River Knitting Mills, Fall River, MA,
said his sales should be up 15 percent by the end of the
year, and indications are next year will be even better.
- The U.S. Postal Service
plans to expand its new fashion retail business, which
operated one retail store last year. The agency wants
the merchandise made in the U.S.
- Habitat for Humanity,
the Americus, GA-based ecumenical housing administration
that builds houses for the poor, wants to build its
brand name and offer high quality American-made merchandise
- PCA Worldwide (or Professional
Caddies Association) plans to offer its own line of
golf apparel, and is co-branding with the PGA Tour on
Mike Todaro Managing Director 404-843-3171, Atlanta