Blair Belluomo brings a strong and appreciative management style to the family business

September 1, 2016

I went to school with many kids whose parents had businesses, and they thought that just because their parents ran a successful business, they could just step in and be successful as well,” says Blair Belluomo, owner and president of Belle Isle Awning in Roseville, Mich. “So many of them failed because they hadn’t had other …

Test of time

Bea Heinz, owner of Jefferson Tent & Awning Co., St. Louis, Mo., has a bit of experience in the custom canvas industry—51 years to be exact. Established in 1911, the majority of Jefferson Tent & Awning’s business consists of the custom manufacture of commercial and residential canvas awnings as well as all types of canvas …

Canada is putting a new emphasis on developing smart textiles and wearable innovations

Textile is rapidly becoming the most effective wearable technology form factor,” says Tony Chahine, CEO of Myant & Co., a member of the Canadian-based Smart Textile and Wearables Innovation Alliance (STWIA). “Smart textiles and wearables have the ability to provide a holistic picture of the body, enhance everyday life and even transform the future of …

Bold predictions: What’s realistic for smart textiles

August 1, 2016

The words smart textiles have generated much discussion in the industry and the media recently. India-based market research firm Markets and Markets has estimated that the value of this high-tech textile sector will grow to $4.7 billion by 2020. Given that the smart textile industry was estimated to be less than $1 billion in 2014, …

Providing “shady deals” since 1972

Debbie Lacy, general manager of The House of Canvas Inc., Glendale, Ariz., takes pride in her family owned and operated custom awning business. From residential and commercial window awnings to shade screens and roll curtains, everything from start to finish is done in-house. Here, Lacy shares her thoughts about the business, her predictions for the …

Reinforcement of seismic proportions

July 29, 2016

A Japanese fabric manufacturer reinforces its showroom against future earthquakes, making a provocative visual statement. With the four main islands of Japan perched atop a convergence of three major tectonic plate boundaries, the country has a history of earthquakes and seismic activity. The ongoing seismic impact on buildings, infrastructure and population is significant, requiring some …

Who’ll mind the store?

Internship programs are an untapped resource for finding the next generation of leaders for specialty fabrics businesses. After decades of building businesses within the textile industry, entrepreneurial baby boomers are entering a new phase of life. As CEOs, business owners and managers consider transitioning out of their leadership positions, they’re dealing with a lot of …

Equipment purchasing: price and value

July 18, 2016

ROI is still an important factor in buying decisions, but qualities like reliability, durability and customer service are moving to the forefront. The return on investment (ROI) and how long it might take to achieve it is always a key consideration in most purchasing decisions, particularly during the Great Recession when pricing and ROI moved …

Tips for building a strong management team

July 14, 2016

Training staff to be empowered, involved and empathetic means success in the present and in the future. Although it was years away—10 to be exact—from when Jerry Grimaud, president of Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures Inc., St. Louis, Mo., became the company’s sole owner in 2005, he didn’t waste any time considering an exit plan. …

Projects and prototypes

June 29, 2016

Industry breakthroughs are proving the viability of photovoltaic fabrics. The University of Wisconsin–Madison may not be the first research institution you would think of for solar textiles research, but a relatively new research team is changing that low profile substantially. Marianne Fairbanks, assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology, and Trisha Andrew, assistant professor …