Metal framework deserves more of a starring role

June 1, 2019

It’s time for metalwork and framing to move from being bit players to getting top billing. by Jeff Moravec Fabric is typically the star of the show in any fabrication project. What often gets overlooked, however, is the role supporting metal frameworks play—often behind the scenes—in fabric structures. The metal framework may frequently be an …

Gain and retain: creating a rewarding culture for employees

Today’s tight labor market can turn employees fickle, posing challenges for companies that need to maintain a strong and skilled workforce. But with the right approach—and good benefits and wages—employers can keep ‘em coming back. by Pamela Mills-Senn After spending 18 years as an employee, Chris Ritsema, owner of Holland, Mich., Canvas Innovations LLC, knew …

Cargo control: move it. Ship it. Store it. Contain it.

The global economy is in constant motion. For cargo from consumer goods to dangerous chemicals, a new generation of textile products is helping to get things where they need to go, safely and economically.  by Amy Goetzman Everything’s on the move. As economies expand around the world and gross domestic product rises, more commodities—food and …

Michele Quadri-Butterfield keeps Al’s Awning Shop up to date and focused on customers

by Jill C. Lafferty The mission of Al’s Awning Shop is to be the leading provider of quality fabric solutions and to be dedicated to providing professional customer service and exceptional products,” says owner Michele Quadri-Butterfield. “Fabric solutions is key for me. It’s about taking a fabric and helping the customer find the solution to …

2019 Specialty Fabrics Showcase

May 1, 2019

Performance is everything now for fabrics, as valuable to customers as appearance and style—from applications in awnings and tents to marine fabrication, outdoor structures, indoor architecture, apparel, medical and aerospace products, to name just a few. For our annual two-part showcase, we asked our contributors to send us information about their latest high-performance materials: fabrics …

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Additional services enrich relationships and bottom line

Adding services to core offerings can provide a way to cement customers to your business, meeting more of their needs and strengthening your appeal—and bottom line—in the process. Once a company has a firm grip on its core business, attention often turns to broadening the services already offered or adding entirely new ones that build …

Crafting skilled employees and happy customers at Charman Motor Trimmers

With a growing business and a dearth of skilled labor, Kimber Buglass trains his own employees, fostering project ownership and pride in the job. “Treat every job as if it’s your own job,” says Kimber Buglass, owner and managing director of Charman Motor Trimmers and Upholsterers Ltd. “I try to tell the team to be …

Recycle, repurpose, reclaim

April 23, 2019

Companies are finding creative ways to address the growing push toward recycling and repurposing used fabrics. It’s tempting to think that recycling was “invented” sometime in the late 1960s, but that would ignore the fact that back in the 11th century, Japan was figuring out ways to reuse its wastepaper. Recycling today looks much different …

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Up-to-date upholstery

April 1, 2019

The commercial upholstery market is always evolving and changing,” says Lori Roop, director of design for CF Stinson LLC, a textile manufacturer based in Rochester Hills, Mich. Yet, Roop adds, “it’s always the same.” A contradiction? Not really. “There is always a huge value placed on color and design,” explains Roop, who works out of …

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Making custom projects work

  When Eric Walton and Devlin McKee opened Custom Canvas Alaska LLC in Fairbanks 14 years ago, the partners knew they had to offer custom canvas work beyond the boat tops they started out providing. After all, a marine fabrication shop in Alaska faces some extreme seasonal ups and downs, making project diversification a survival …