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Strategies for keeping busy year-round

May 1, 2018

Roller coasters belong in amusement parks, not on the balance sheet; yet for many specialty fabricator businesses susceptible to seasonal ups and downs, it may sometimes seem as if the operation is being taken for exactly that kind of ride. Not every business is prone to periodic slowdowns in work. But for those that are, …

Amy Poe builds Wyckam from a marine canvas business into a custom sewing shop

April 1, 2018

As a small business owner you have to be able to adapt to many different situations and needs,” says Amy Poe, owner of Wyckam in Portland, Ore. “You pretty much need to be able to do everything. Even if you hire something out you still have to have a basic understanding of what it is …

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Fabric graphics dazzle outdoors

Branding has become a major fixation. From people who carefully curate their social media postings to large corporations with entire brand-focused departments and everything in between, it seems as if everyone is intent on cementing public perception of their brands. And although we’ve all likely encountered individuals who are obsessed with their “personal brand,” for …

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Shade-product manufacturers are making outdoor spaces more comfortable—and smarter

While many manufacturers concentrate on making smart products that give people convenient and luxurious control over functions in their homes and businesses, others are finding ways to make the outdoors equally responsive and comfortable to lifestyles in the Internet of Things age. A robotics company in Pasadena, Calif., is, in fact, throwing all its weight …

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Some of the most innovative uses of fabric in entertainment environments are found inside

March 1, 2018

Fabric and lighting have an ages-old relationship that elicits something visceral, and when done skillfully there’s a quality to backlit fabric that nothing else can provide,” says Eric Bury, director of project development for the Toronto, Canada-based custom architectural fabrication company Eventscape. Bury acknowledges that of all the construction materials his company uses to create …

David Murray at Fiesta Tents goes for the gold

Running a business is hard work. There’s always a time when you’ve got to change the way you’re doing things,” says David Murray, founder and president of Fiesta Tents Ltd. in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada. “Every year you have to review your business—you have to review and correct.” The inspiration for starting a business came in …

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2018 State of the Industry

AWNINGS AND CANOPIES In 2017, growth in the awning market increased, in the low single-digit range. Contributing to the growth was an approximate 6.5 percent rise in housing values in 2017; a 4.1 percent increase in home values is anticipated in 2018. Many homeowners used their rising home equity to remodel in 2017. According to …

Tarp and truck cover manufacturers stand at the ready with products designed to keep loads secure and drivers safe

Fabric truck covers, side curtains and tarping systems are enjoying increased attention from an industry looking for advanced solutions to help keep fleets rolling along more efficiently, safely and economically. Several factors are fueling this interest. For one thing, drivers are getting older, says Vincent Merlot Jr., CEO/owner of Merlot Vango® Tarping Solutions Inc., a …

Building facades and vertical shade

February 1, 2018

For decades now, since the revelation of the 1970s back-to-earth, energy enlightenment era of oil embargoes and the beginning of the environmentalism movement, architects and government officials have acknowledged the importance of making ever more energy-efficient buildings. It has been proven that buildings (the construction of them and the manufacturing of all the materials that …

The business of yurts: round architecture

I never had an interest in going into business to just duplicate a product that already existed,” says Alan Bair, founder and owner of Pacific Yurts Inc. in Cottage Grove, Ore. “But early on I realized the yurt is a unique warm space that is limited only by the imagination. When you go into that circular …