Seven steps to take your fabrics business to the next level

March 1, 2020

by Sigrid Tornquist Building a business takes more than a good idea and an interested customer base. It takes planning, investment, a skilled workforce—and a healthy dose of industry knowledge. Got a plan?  Rick Ludolph, founder and president of boutique specialty fabrics consulting firm Productive Solutions LLC in Marietta, Ga., has spent more than 40 …

Bob Grambsch leads Canvas Replacements in making new canvas tent tops for old pop-up camper trailers.

by Jill C. Lafferty We bring over 65 years of knowledge and experience to a growing and changing industry,” says Bob Grambsch, president of Canvas Replacements/Camper & Recreation Inc., a Loyal, Wis.-based manufacturer of replacement canvas tent tops for pop-up campers. “My dad had been building camping trailers since 1957. I was about eight years …

Custom inflatables are blowing up

Inflatables are in demand, thanks to advanced technologies that create higher quality products and new applications. by Jeff Moravec There was a time when consumers viewed inflatable products as bargain-basement cousins to rigid objects. Think of the air mattress rolled out on the bedroom floor for a middle-school sleepover or the discount-store blow-up swimming pool …

The wide (format) world of sports

When it comes to printing fabrics, the wide world of sports is beginning to live up to its name. By Jeff Moravec In sports, it’s always about competition—and revenue. As sports teams have established new revenue streams (such as sponsorships that require stadium advertising) and worked to enhance the game-day experience for fans with splashy …

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Retractables: part of the shade package

February 1, 2020

There has been growth in the U.S. market for retractable awnings, but today they’re part of a wide range of shade products designed to offer comfort, color, convenience, style and protection from insects as well as weather. by Laurie Junker The awning industry had been anticipating a boom in retractables for a long time. Scouring …

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Textiles and Lifestyle

Textiles have become more responsive, providing health and wellness benefits while creating worlds of possibilities for manufacturers and users alike.  by Pamela Mills-Senn It wasn’t long ago that the demands placed on textiles were relatively straightforward. Whether apparel, furnishings, car seats, bedding, medical fabrics or others, textiles were tasked with meeting a generally standard set …

Change as business strategy

After jumping from the food industry to truck tarps, David Callahan targets customers who value quality and innovation over price.   by Jill C. Lafferty Local competitors are trying to go cheaper and cheaper, while we’re trying to do more and more quality,” says David Callahan, owner of Granite State Cover & Canvas Inc., based …

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Succession Planning 101

A seamless transfer of leadership in a family business requires hard conversations and a detailed road map to avoid the worst potholes and ensure a successful journey.  by Jeff Moravec A family business can offer great rewards—personally and professionally—for its founders and their descendants. But a family business also presents unique challenges and requires careful …

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Leading women: strength, innovation and growth

January 1, 2020

As dedicated industry professionals, women are running companies, developing innovative new products and meeting the challenges of a global marketplace. Our six subjects have varied backgrounds and career paths, but the advice they offer is surprisingly similar: engage, learn and toot your own horn. by Laurie Junker A woman starting a manufacturing company might not …

Investing in excellence—and workforce readiness

Kathryn Maisto mastered her marine canvas skills over a lifetime and across oceans, and now she’s training a new generation. by Jill C. Lafferty I’m always looking for ways to enhance our product line,” says Kathryn Maisto, MFC, owner of Fairwinds Canvas LLC, Racine, Wis. “In what we do and what we offer, we have …