ATME-I crisis

Week of June 4, 2001

Site faces foreclosure

By Devin Steele

GREENVILLE, SC — The Palmetto Expo Center, longtime home of the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ATME-I) shows, may be padlocked by the end of the month if a bank note isn’t paid.

Textile Hall Corporation, parent company of the Expo Center, is nearing its debt ceiling on a revolving line of credit with Bank of America Corp., according to The Greenville News. Butler B. Mullins, president of the center, told the paper that “under current circumstances we are not able to pay off” the $9.5 million debt by the bank’s June 29 deadline and that the bank may foreclose on the facility.

The situation exacerbates a crisis already facing the ATME-I shows, which may be consolidated into one event during its next run in three or four years. Some organizers have said that the Expo Center, in its current form, can’t accommodate a combined show and they are seeking alternative cities and venues.

The Palmetto Center has created a task force to try to resolve its financing troubles and develop a plan for long-term survival.


STA president:

Program ‘balanced’

HILTON HEAD, NC — The 93rd annual meeting of the Southern Textile Association (STA) will take place Wednesday through Saturday at the Marriott Beach & Golf Resort here.

Among business-session highlights Thursday will be a presentation by Daniel Burrus, one of the world’s leading technology forecasters. He is founder, president and CEO of Burrus Research Associates, Inc.

Chuck Hayes, chairman of Guilford Mills and president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), also is scheduled to address the group that morning.

Friday, Michael Anthony Janke and impressionist Steve Bridges will speak. Janke will talk about self-discipline, peak performance and becoming “super human.”

Dan Nation, STA president, was in charge of planning the meeting.

“I put a lot of thought into the meeting and I wanted to be very specific and, with the speakers we’re having, address the challenges we face today,” he said. “At the same time, I want it to be entertaining, so we’ve put together a good, balanced program.”

In the news ...

Week of June 4, 2001

ATMA honors retiring member

GREENVILLE, SC — The American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) honored longtime member Hans Freytag during its Region 3 meeting last month at the Poinsett Club here.

Freytag, executive vice president of Tex-Tube Corp., Greer, SC, has served the organization for many years in such capacities as a board of directors member and a committee member. He, along with Jim Scott, helped found ATMA’s Region 3 meetings nearly a decade ago.

After a 35-year career with Tex-Tube, Freytag has announced his intentions to retire sometime this summer.

“When you honor someone, it is especially rewarding to know him personally and to be an associate of his,” ATMA member Butch Moss, sales manager of Tex-Tube who has worked with Freytag for 27 years, said in recognizing him.

WestPoint inks Mary-Kate and Ashley deal

WEST POINT, GA — Dualstar Consumer Products, the consumer products division of twin stars Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Dualstar Entertainment Group, and WestPoint Stevens last week announced an agreement for production of sheets, towels, bedding and bath accessories, blankets and throws and shower curtains to be sold at select Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

The product will be introduced in stores in August for the 2001 back-to-school season.

The Mary-Kate and Ashley brand fashion and lifestyle program at Wal-Mart was launched in January with a full line of apparel and accessories and has seen explosive early success and exponential growth, according to WestPoint.

The Dixie Group sells dyeing facility in GA

CHATTANOOGA, TN — The Dixie Group, Inc. has completed the sale of Colormaster, a small dyeing facility located in Calhoun, GA, to Product Concepts Residential, LLC.

Although details of the sale were not disclosed, Dixie said the transaction was in line with the company’s expectation of value.

“The sale of these assets is a part of our strategy to consolidate our North Georgia operations, reduce debt and improve our balance sheet,” said Daniel K. Frierson, Dixie’s chairman and CEO. “The transaction is not expected to affect employment level at the dyeing facility. Product Concepts will continue its relationship with us as a supplier of external dyeing requirements.”

Erhardt + Leimer signs agreement with Soter

SPARTANBURG, SC — Erhardt + Leimer, Inc., a manufacturer of web control systems, has signed an agreement with Soter, for exclusive rights to market and sell Soter’s thickness measurement equipment in North America.

Soter manufactures on-line measuring and quality control equipment.
Erhardt + Leimer will market and sell a complete line of Soter scanners, sensors and dedicated software solutions.

Lawson-Hemphill publishes brochures

SPARTANBURG, SC — Lawson-Hemphill has published two new brochures covering its patented textured yarn tester, the TYT-EW, and Lawson-Hemphill’s diverse range of instrumentation for testing elastomeric yarns and materials.

According to the company, the improved TYT-EW enables complete and accurate data communication with increased capabilities and improved automation, including: Windows NT software, sample bar-coding, component optimization, set-up security protection and system computer integration capability. These features offer reduced labor, maintenance and production costs; decreased customer complaints; and improved high-quality yields for users worldwide, Lawson-Hemphill added.

Editorial

Week of June 4, 2001

STA remains viable part of industry

LIKE SIMILAR manufacturing organizations, the Southern Textile Association (STA) is always looking at ways to improve its services and expand its membership in the midst of troubling times and dwindling rosters. Erosion of organizational membership is a common occurrence these days, given the consolidations, cutbacks, closings and cost-conscious realities of today’s textile and apparel industry.

Though the STA did over the last year pick up a handful of members — TNS Mills, Avondale Mills and Ramtex — it also lost a number of dues-payers. Overall, its roll slipped by about 12 or 14 percent, figures that aren’t that disappointing considering the steep drops the industry has seen, according to STA President Dan Nation, a division president at Parkdale Mills.

Still, the STA remains one of the largest and most active associations in the industry. The group boasts a still-healthy 564 members, who consist mostly of managers and supervisors, along with industry suppliers. Unlike some other alliances, the group doesn’t lobby government officials. Rather, its mission is to provide training to the industry and promote fellowship as well as the exchange of information and ideas.

Membership in the STA continues to be one of the best bargains in the industry. As Nation mentioned in our interview with him in this issue, for only $255 members were able to attend six divisional meetings and a large seminar over the last year. And that includes the membership fee of $50. In those get-togethers, a number of speakers covering a wide range of topics were brought in to educate and update attendees on matters pertinent to the industry.

AFFILIATION in groups such as STA may be considered a luxury in an industry that some have characterized as desperate, but their importance can’t be downplayed. As the U.S. textile and apparel complex continues its struggles, it needs every advantage it can find to remain competitive and viable in a global economy. STA, and other groups, help keep industry representatives better educated and better prepared during this era of change.

STA leaders recognize this, of course, and are doing their part to keep the organization effective, meaningful and flourishing. For 93 years, the organization has thrived in the Carolinas and Virginia, but is now trying to expand its borders. The group is actively spreading the STA message to the rest of the U.S. textile industry heartland — Georgia and Alabama — in hopes of convincing representatives in those states that the association can bring value to them, as well.

The task is imposing, Nation admitted, but not futile.

NATION’S TERM as president of the group expires this week and we would be remiss by not congratulating him for a job well done. He has gracefully led the association, unselfishly given of his time and exceptionally performed his duties. He also happens to be one of the good guys of this industry.

We thank Dan for his service.

The STA and this industry are better — and stronger — as a result.