NECPA: A century of survival

July 1st, 2020

Lessons from four member companies that have survived for a century and continue to thrive. by Cathy Broberg In January 2020, the North East Canvas Products Association (NECPA), a trade organization for the canvas and outdoor fabric industry, marked its 100th anniversary. Members celebrated at its annual conference with a gala and by touring a […]

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Making custom projects work

April 1st, 2019

  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 […]

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Enhancing workplace (and worker) performance: automation and technology, equipment ROI and the new workforce

July 1st, 2018

Canvas Innovations in Holland, Mich., focuses on custom marine canvas and upholstery products, says owner Chris Ritsema. The company also has a smaller portion of the business dedicated to other textile-related products, such as porch enclosures, shade sails, awning recovery, furniture covers, golf cart enclosures and a wealth of other custom projects. “We continue to […]

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Strategies for keeping busy year-round

May 1st, 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, […]

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How to expand into new market segments without sacrificing core products

October 1st, 2017

For many custom fabricators, diversification is the name of the game. Recognizing—and seizing—opportunities to venture into new market segments can mean the difference between staying in business or (perish the thought) going under. But companies can also become too diversified, to the point where potential clients don’t have a clear idea of what’s being made […]

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