Springs employees watch an interactive monitor that allows visitors to see a digital photo of themselves lying in the Springmaid bedding ensemble of their choice. (L-R) Anissa Truesdale of the internal financial reporting department; Jeanne Carter, executive secretary; Judy Hammond, executive secretary; and Barbara Cameron, a greige buyer.
Photo by Devin Steele
FORT MILL, SC Springs Industries Springmaid Dream Machine, an interactive and fully decorated traveling design center and showroom, is making stops at about 85 Wal-Mart stores in eight states.
Springs employees recently got a sneak preview of the exhibit at the companys corporate headquarters here, before the tractor trailer carrying the showroom pulled out for the six-month tour.
The 48-foot personal-decorating resource features on-site design consultants, product samples and free how to educational materials. Launching in Philadelphia recently, the Springmaid Dream Machine resource center is spending a full day parked outside each of the Wal-Mart stores.
Visitors to the Springmaid Dream Machine will be able to talk with design consultants about how to turn their bedrooms into attractive and comfortable sanctuaries. An interactive kiosk lets visitors scroll through design options, and product displays, posters and brochures round out the resource materials.
A fun feature of the Springmaid Dream Machine is a digital photo booth dubbed Picture Yourself in Springmaid. The photo booth allows consumers to have their picture taken, select their favorite Springmaid bedding style, then later retrieve from a specially-designed Web site springmaid.com a digitally altered image that shows how they would look ensconced in thats bed décor.
The Springmaid Dream Machine bedroom features the bright and fashionable Kate bedding collection a bed-in-a-bag set of sheets and pillowcases, comforter, shams and bedskirt in red, yellow and lilac flowers on a soft yellow lattice background.
The bath is decorated in the trendy and popular look of Palm trees, using Springmaid Palm Breeze shower curtain, rug and accessories.
The tour will travel through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Arkansas.
WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate Thursday appeared close to passing an omnibus trade package, legislation that collectively could further damage the U.S. textile and apparel industry, say some of its leaders.
The Trade Act of 2002 includes presidential trade promotion authority (TPA), an extension and expansion of the Andean Trade Preference Act and a reauthorization until 2007 of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Also within the legislation are changes that will increase imports from Caribbean and African countries.
TPA, also known as fast track, gives the president the power to negotiate trade deals with only a yea or nay vote needed by Congress. Opponents argue that the last time a president had this authority, in 1993, the North America Free Trade Agreement was struck, which some in the textile and apparel industry blame for the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs in recent years.
The Andean provisions grant duty- and quota-free treatment to apparel made in four South American countries Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.
The House passed the conference report (H.R. 3009), 215-212, at 3:30 a.m. on July 27, sending it to the Senate. This marked the third time that members of the 107th Congress have voted on TPA, either separately or within a larger package. TPA passed all three times by narrow margins 215-214 in December, 216-215 in June and 215-212 most recently.
Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC, said the bill could cost the U.S. up to 150,000 more jobs if it becomes law.
The legislation and the midnight rush for its passage are congressional disgraces, he told The State newspaper of Columbia, SC, after the bill passed the House.
Milliken, one of the most vocal critics of NAFTA and fast track, and some of his top advisors recently visited at least two daily newspaper editorial boards to speak against trade promotion authority.
The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), with which Milliken has been at odds regarding various issues in recent years, also opposed the bill.
Saying it was working with the National Cotton Council (NCC) and the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), the ATMI said in a letter to Senators from Chairman Van May Wednesday that the conference agreement did not include our recommended positions and does not adequately address many of the concerns of the industry and our supporters in Congress.
ATMI opposed the legislation, May said, because it is deficient in the following areas:
textile negotiating objectives the bill includes only a watered-down version of the strong language included in the Senate bill regarding negotiating objectives for textiles, ATMI said. The Senate language, authored by Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), sought to establish specific textile and apparel negotiating objectives that would have precluded further lowering of U.S. tariffs until other nations reduce their tariffs to U.S. levels. It would also have required other nations to eliminate their non-tariff barriers;
U.S. trade remedy laws according to ATMI, the bill fails to maintain any meaningful congressional authority to preserve U.S. laws against unfair trading practices, as called for by the Dayton-Craig Amendment;
African regional fabric the bill doubles the amount of apparel made of African fabric and yarn that can enter the U.S. duty-free to more than 1 billion square meters;
Caribbean regional fabric the bill includes the original House provisions allowing massive increases in the amount of knit apparel made of Caribbean fabric to enter the U.S. duty-free, rising quickly to nearly 1 billion square meters; and
Andean regional fabric the bill grants duty-free treatment for massive amounts of Andean knit and woven apparel made of Andean fabric formed of U.S. or Andean yarn. This provision would allow up to 320 million square meters worth of apparel made of regional fabric in the first year, nearly 2 times the amount of apparel that the Andean countries currently ship to the U.S. This amount would rapidly increase to more than 800 million square meters.
This Andean provision provides an open invitation for transshipment of both fabric and yarn into the South American region, to the detriment of U.S. yarn and fabric manufacturers, their suppliers and employees, May said.
This bill not only fails to recognize our suffering, but will exacerbate it, May said. On balance, it leaves too much to interpretation with respect to the trade promotion authority provisions, and gives away too much with respect to the Andean, Caribbean and African provisions.
Pressure was on a group of textile-state House members whose districts have been hammered by job losses. Some changed their minds from earlier votes, including one who has especially come under fire, Robin Hayes (R-NC).
In a statement, Hayes said he voted against the conference report due to its being packaged with the Andean provisions.
ATPA includes trade provisions that I feel could put our domestic textile industry at a competitive disadvantage, said Hayes, the swing voter for the fast-track measure in December, which he gave the nod to after extracting promises from House leadership and the Bush Administration aimed at helping the domestic textile industry. I did not support ATPA when it passed the House last year, and I do not support it today.
Jim DeMint (R-SC), who also has been criticized in his district, stuck with his earlier vote, however, and voted for the measure. A week earlier, a provision he had championed that closed a dyeing, finishing and printing loophole in the Trade Development Act of 2000 and the ATPA was passed by the House.
The whole point that (fast track) is going to hurt textiles is absurd because in the 10 years we havent had it, textiles have about been driven out of business, DeMint told The Greenville News. Without this, textiles will be driven out of the country.
LOWELL, MA Drum roll, please ...
The Class of 2002 of the American Textile Hall of Fame (ATHF) includes:
Frederick B. Dent, former chairman of Mayfair Mills, Spartanburg, SC, and secretary of commerce in the Nixon and Ford cabinets;
James Spencer Love (1896-1962), a pioneer in weaving synthetic fibers and founder of Burlington Industries, Greensboro, NC;
E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, DE; and
Whitin Machine Works of Whitinsville, MA.
The American Textile Hall of Fame is a program honoring dedication and commitment to the nations textile industry. Now in its second year, the ATHF is permanently housed at the American Textile History Museum here.
The Class of 02 will be honored at the museum on Monday, September 9, at a luncheon and induction ceremony hosted by the ATFH board of governors and the museums board of trustees.
Accepting the awards will be Dent of Spartanburg; Steven R. McCracken, president of DuPont Textiles & Interiors; Robert Love of Greenwich, CT, son of Love; and E. Kent Swift Jr., of Woodshole, MA, great-great grandson of Whitin, who invented the first Whitin picker for cleaning cotton at the beginning of the spinning process.
James M. Fitzgibbons, chairman of the ATHF board of governors, which selected the Class of 2002, said, we are honored to welcome this distinguished group who have made an important difference in the textile industry, and offer them a place in the American Textile Hall of Fame to tell their story to future generations.
After serving as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) in 1967-68, Dent was secretary of commerce during President Nixons second term and continued in that position under President Ford, after Nixons resignation. He was appointed by Ford as special representative for trade negotiations and held that position until Ford left office.
Dent, 80, a New Jersey native and Yale graduate, retired as president of Mayfair Mills in 1987, but continued with the company as chairman.
He is the second living person to earn induction into the hall. Last year, Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC, joined Samuel Slater and Duke Power Co. as charter class inductees. Slater (1768-1835) built the first cotton mill in the U.S. and Duke played a key role in industrializing textiles in the Carolinas.
Known as an innovator, Love founded Burlington Industries in 1923 and, eager for his company to stand out from the crowd, he had the company switch to a new experimental synthetic fiber, rayon. Within a few years, the company was the largest producer of rayon fabrics.
In effect, Burlington became the fastest-growing textile company in the U.S. in the four decades 1920-60. Burlington also was the first textile company to advertise on network TV (1952) and the first to reach $1 billion in sales (1962).
DuPont Corp., celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, had a major impact on the industry with the introduction of another new fiber, nylon, in 1938. A number of other innovations that transformed the textile and apparel industry helped earn the company a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Another ground-breaker, Whiten Machine Works, improved production of textiles with cutting-edge equipment. The company played an important role in building opening and picking and other preparatory equipment for cotton manufacturing. Whiten introduced its highly successful high-speed comber in 1905.
The ATHF board of governors, appointed in 2001 by the ATHMs board of trustees, includes Fitzgibbons, former chairman and CEO of Davidson Cotton Company, Charlotte, NC; Robert E. Coleman, former chairman and CEO, Riegel Textile Corporation and Textile Hall Corporation, Greenville, SC; Robert Dalton Jr., Tech-Tex, Inc., Charlotte, NC; Walter Y. Elisha, former chairman and CEO, Springs Industries Inc., Fort Mill, SC; W. Duke Kimbrell, chairman and CEO, Parkdale, Inc., Gastonia, NC; Joseph L. Lanier Jr., chairman and CEO, Dan River Inc., Danville,VA; Arthur M. Spiro, AMS Tex Enterprises Inc., Great Neck, NY.
Edward B. Stevens, chairman, Ames Textile Corp., Lowell, MA, and ATHM board of trustees chairman, serves as ex officio member.
MORGANTON, NC Seiren Co. Ltd. of Japan recently opened its Viscotec Automotive Products LLC manufacturing facility here.
The company in December announced its intention to open the facility and invest $60 million into the project. It said it plans to hire up to 250 people over the next three years. About 40 people have been hired so far, according to reports.
The plant will manufacture fabric used in seats and door panels, mostly for Japanese automobiles made in the South. Viscotec officials said they already have agreements with a Toyota plant in Georgetown, KY, and with a Nissan plant in Smyrna, TN.
A 217,500-square foot former soft drink distribution warehouse has been upgraded to accommodate plant operations.
The opening is welcomed news to Burke County, which saw its jobless rate more than triple in the last two years, to 7.8 percent in May.
Seiren, Japans top supplier of automotive fabric, had worldwide sales of about $800 million last year.
PHILADELPHIA, PA S.A. Recasens, based in Barcelona, Spain, has opened a sales office and warehouse facility here.
The 100-year-old company manufactures fabrics and textiles for the marine, awning and hundreds of other applications. S.A. Recasens solution-dyed acrylics and vinyl products are produced under the brands Recacril®, RecWater® and RecSystem®.
The new facility will be responsible for sales and distribution of all the companys product lines for the U.S.
Our Recacril product line is excellent and competes head to head with products such as Sunbrella and other European brands, said Stanley Sherman, national sales manager for S.A. Recasens U.S. We feel, however, that we have several competitive advantages, such as additional style offerings and a mastery in the production of textiles. We are currently seeking key distributors relationships and analyzing additional distribution points.
S.A. Recasens said it plans marketing efforts to support its launch into the U.S. market. The management feels strongly about supporting our new distributors and the installers by providing them with advertising, sales support materials and a presence at the IFAI show in October, Sherman said.
WINSTON-SALEM, NC Frisby Technologies, Inc. plans to sell a division and trim jobs as it attempts to cover its expenses for the rest of the year.
The company, which makes climate control materials, also announced that it has obtained a revolving credit facility of up to $600,000.
The company said it has recently eliminated about $2 million in spending from its operating expense budget and has put a for sale sign on its SteeleVest business unit, which makes vests that help cool people who work in hot environments.
Frisby also will slash eight jobs to bring its enrollment to 16 and will cut its advertising expenditures in half.
The financing was provided in equal parts by two current stockholders of the company, MUSI Investments S.A. of Luxembourg and Finpart International S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Finpart SpA, a $300 million holding company based in Milan.
This new credit facility provides Frisby with much-needed support, and we are appreciative of the backing of MUSI and Finpart, said Duncan R. Russell, president and chief operating officer. If we are able to achieve the revenue levels that we forecast in our revised operating plan, we currently project that the cash available as a result of this new financing and improved cash flow from operations should be sufficient to satisfy our operational requirements through the end of 2002.
ASHLAND, NH Citing the effects of countries using cheap foreign labor, L.W. Packard Mill said recently it is closing a woolen mill and laying off about 50 employees.
The company, which makes cloth primarily from animal fur, said it can no longer compete with low-wage countries such as India, Pakistan and China.
About four years ago, Packard closed its weaving and yarn-making operations and employment has steadily declined since then.
A Packard spokesperson said the company plans to stay open, concentrating on its more-profitable steam laundry subsidiary it opened last year.
CHARLOTTE, NC During a ceremony here, Reel-Tex, Inc. last week received a U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Export Achievement Certificate.
This certificate recognizes small and medium-sized enterprises that are new exporters. Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC) presented the award.
The company, based in Gastonia, NC, manufactures high-quality laboratory knitting machines for the textile industry.
Reel-Tex has a strong background in machine design and manufacture, using the latest machining equipment. It also is well known in the textile field for the manufacture of machine replacement parts for yarn manufacturing.
GREENSBORO, NC Unifi, Inc. has completed a previously announced deal with Thailand-based Tuntex Public Co., Ltd. to sell yarns in Europe, North America and the Far East.
Under terms of the agreement, Unifi will assist Tuntex in enhancing both the quality and variety of polyester filament yarns produced, and will use the Thai facility as a base for sourcing Unifi yarns in Asia.
These agreements will provide Unifi with a competitive entry point into the largest textile region in the world, said Mike Delaney, Unifi senior vice president.
BRDGEWATER, NJ The Vinamul Polymers business unit of National Starch and Chemical Company has announced a 2 cent/wet pound price increase for all vinyl acetate homopolymer and copolymer emulsions and all ethylene-vinyl acetate emulsions, effective August 15.
These are sold to the textiles, nonwovens, adhesives, paper and building products industries.
SAN PEDRO SULI, HONDURAS Spectrum Dyed Yarns, Inc. and Elasticos CentroAmericanos, S. A. de C.V. (Elca) have formed Spectrum Central America, S.A. de C.V., a joint venture in yarn dyeing.
The yarn dyeing facility located in Choloma, Honduras will offer dyed cotton, poly/cotton, filament polyester, spun polyester and nylon to the countries located in Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Spectrum Dyed Yarns, Inc., based in Kings Mountain, NC, dyes spun and filament yarns. It is the original company in the Spectrum Group of Companies, which today also includes Spectrum Textured Yarns, Inc.; Spectrum Americas, S.A. de C.V.; and Spectrum Yarn Sales, Inc.
Elca is a major manufacturer of woven and knitted elastics for mens and womens undergarments, rigid laces and shoe laces.
RALEIGH, NC The Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) announced the unanimous decision by its board of directors to organize and produce a new triennial exhibition and conference focused on machinery, technology and services.
The event is scheduled for May 18-20, 2004, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL Industria Textil Tsuzuki, one of Brazils largest integrated textile manufacturers, announced it has selected Management Solutions Group, LLC of South Carolina as its exclusive sales agent for North America.
Industria Textile Tsuzuki manufactures an extensive line of apparel, industrial and home furnishing yarns and fabrics, as well as garments sold throughout South America under the Tsuzuki Brand and private labels.
ATLANTA Russell Athletic, a division of Russell Corporation, has received a letter of intent for a contract extension with Major League Baseball Properties to remain an Official Uniform of Major League Baseball and to provide MLB apparel through 2003.
Separately, Russell announced the debut of the Russell Athletic brand in the Japanese sporting goods market.
MIAMI New Generation Computing Inc. (NGC) announced that Integra, Inc., a manufacturer and importer of mens, womens and childrens casual apparel, has deployed NGCs Apparel Management Accounting System (AMAS), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and its Remote Plant Management System (807) to manage production, control inventory and fulfill customer orders.
CHARLOTTE, NC Five students have been selected as recipients of $15,000 scholarships from Coats North America.
The students are children of Coats employees. The scholarships are payable at $3,750 per year and the recipients may attend a four-year college or university of their choice. These students have excelled in academics, community and church involvement, with further emphasis on leadership, character and financial need.
Arthur Lee Cathey is a senior at Rosman High School in Rosman, NC. He is the son of Mary and Sam Cathey. Mary Cathey has spent 17 years as plant nurse at Coats Sylvan Plant in Rosman.
Arthur served as vice president of the Art Club, was all-WNC, all-area and all-conference in football for the 2001 season. He has also volunteered at the Brian Center and is a member of the Beta Club.
Arthur is preparing to attend Appalachian State University, majoring in biology and geology.
Joshua Jack Postell is a senior at Andrews High School in Andrews, NC. He is the son of Jack and Glenda Postell. Jack Postell is a supervisor at Coats Cherokee plant in Marble, NC.
Joshua is active in school and in his community. He has been a member of the Student Council during each of his four years of high school, where he served as reporter and secretary. He is captain of the basketball, football and baseball teams and is a member of the soccer and track teams.
Joshua also finds time to serve in numerous community projects such as the Topton Community Board, where he serves as head of the Community Beautification Project; and in organizations such as the We Care Program, World Changers, Beta Club and DECA.
Joshua plans to attend Western Carolina University, where he intends to study to become a teacher.
Ginger Michelle Taylor is a senior at Stephens County High School in Tocca, GA. She is the daughter of Dean and Patricia Taylor. Dean Taylor is a production planner at Coats Toccoa plant.
Ginger ranks sixth in her class of 227 students. She serves as vice president of the Latin Club and is librarian of both the marching and concert bands. She is a member of the Beta Club, tennis team, band and drama team.
Ginger has been included in the Whos Who Among American High School Students and is a recipient of the 2001 Georgia Certificate of Merit and the National Latin Award in 2001.
She is preparing to attend Piedmont College, where she will study early childhood education.
Jennifer Lane Turpin is a senior at McDowell County High School in Marion, NC. She is the daughter of Lane and Sherry Turpin. Lane Turpin is a planning manager at Coats Sevier plant.
Jennifer serves as section leader of school band, is active in her church hand-bell choir and is a member of the Beta Club. She has also participated in projects and events for the Childrens Miracle Network.
Jennifer will attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she will study accounting.
Joshua Lee Willix is a senior at Brevard High School in Brevard, NC. He is the son of Terry and Marie Willix. Terry Willix is a storeroom clerk at Coats Sylvan Plant.
Joshua serves as a member of his church Youth Group and is interested in computer and console gaming, reading, cars and martial arts.
Joshua plans to attend Tennessee University, where he will study forensic psychology and forensic genetics.
INMAN, SC Three recent graduates of Spartanburg County high schools have been awarded college scholarships by the Inman-Riverdale Foundation.
Value of each scholarship is 80 percent of tuition up to a maximum of $6,000 a year.
All recipients are children of Inman Mills employees.
Joe Brett Sloan, a graduate of Chapman High School in Inman, SC, is the son of Joe and Jim Sloan of Inman.
He plans to attend Newberry College. His mother is employed in the accounting department.
Stephanie Lee Foster, daughter of Don and Betsy Foster of Enoree, SC, is a graduate of Woodruff High School and plans to study at Winthrop College.
Her father is corporate personnel director.
Roeun Eang, who has graduated from Boiling Springs High School, will be attending the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg.
Her mother, Tem Kong, works in the spinning department at the Saybrook Plant. They live in Boiling Springs.
The Inman-Riverdale Foundation was established in 1949 to provide grants for children of Inman Mills employees.
Awards are based on scholastic standing, character, aptitude and leadership.
WINTERTHUR, SWITZERLAND The acquisition of weaving machine maker Sulzer Textil by the Italian ITEMA group was approved by European antitrust authorities, Sulzer announced July 24.
The name of the business groups will be changed from Sulzer Textil to SULTEX, although products will continue to bear the brand name Sulzer Textil.
As part of ITEMA, Sulzer will remain fully autonomous in terms of brands and operations, the ITEMA Group said.
The ITEMA Group, the machinery arm of Radici, is the parent company of Promatech, which owns weaving machine brands Somet and Vamatex.
The acquisition of Sulzer Textil is going to strengthen our technological leading position in the weaving machinery manufacturing industry and, at the same time, open up new prospects in view of a future public stock offering of our group, said Miro Radici, CEO of the ITEMA Group. We will be proud to further increase the value of the Sulzer Textil brand, the most prestigious name in this industry.
According to ITEMA, Sulzer Textils worldwide results at the end of May were by far ahead of forecasts for the year.
For us, joining the ITEMA Group is a further assurance to go on with our policy that has always drawn inspiration from total quality in both our products and services, especially with our most demanding customers, said Paolo Antonietti, president of Sulzer Textil.
The approval, ending a four-month examination of the transaction, also established that the ITEMA Group should divest rapier-weaving production activities of Sulzer Textil.
The ITEMA Group consists of 15 companies with 13 production sites and 3,710 employees.
WEST POINT, GA WestPoint Stevens earned $2 million, or 4 cents per share, in the second quarter. The company lost $17.5 million, or 35 cents, a year before.
Sales rose to $449.6 million from $401.7 million during the same quarter last year.
GREENSBORO, NC Cone Mills made its highest quarterly net income in six years, surpassing earlier estimates.
The company made $3.1 million, or 8 cents per share, beating its earlier guidance of 5-7 cents per share. Sales increased 3.4 percent to $125.8 million.
Cone lost $26.5 million, or $1.08 per share, during the comparable quarter of 2001.
ATLANTA Russell Corp. posted a second-quarter loss of $6.1 million, or 19 cents per share, after refinancing charges.
Comparatively, the company lost $11.6 million, or 36 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2001. Sales were $253.1 million, almost flat compared to last year.
CHARLOTTE, NC Ruddick Corporation, holding company of thread maker American & Efird (A&E), announced that operating profit of $8.4 million at A&E represented a 60.3 percent increase from year-ago levels. Sales in the division were $81.5 million, a slight decline.
GREENSBORO, NC Unifi, Inc. reported a net loss of $1.6 million, or 3 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, which included a pre-tax loss of $7.4 million from the sale and write-down of excess real estate. Sales were $256.5 million, slightly down from year-ago levels.
IS IT JUST us, or was anyone else struck by the (unintentional) juxtaposition of past and future on this weeks STN cover? If not, consider the two lead stories: Trade package on verge of passage and Four leaders to join Textile Hall of Fame. Take a moment to compare the trade deal, which would have major ramifications to the future of the textile and apparel industry, to the American Textile History Museums Textile Hall of Fame, which honors the industrys past. The irony just drips off the page.
Follow? If not, well, ponder this: That major trade package, if passed as expected, perhaps by the time you read this could have much of the domestic textile and apparel industry in a museum well before its time, if certain aspects of the bundled bill are realized.
A pessimistic view? Perhaps. But dont write us off as yet another industry doom and gloomer. If youve stopped by here enough, you know were hardly the naysayer. Over the years, weve sought a silver lining during your darkest days, urged you to dig deep for faith, hope and confidence in your companies and this industry, tried to coax you to reach your potential and rediscover greatness. We believe in you and in this industry, despite what the critics and lawmakers may think of you.
Were merely making an observation.
NO, WEVE hardly thrown in the towel, though some are trying to toss a wet blanket on this industry. These grumblers are saying its over, that theres no way we can overcome more damaging legislation. With this industry stretched to its limits, we cant handle even more textiles and apparel crossing our borders, they say. Even with provisions that call for some of those goods to be made with U.S. components to qualify for duty-free status and for dyeing, finishing and printing to be done on these shores under some parts o the legislation, too many loopholes exist in some of these measures for any real growth to occur, they add.
Some call it the race to the bottom, and it may very well be, with retailers, consumers and the government driving this free-trade boat. Others call it a transfer of wealth, which may be true, too, as our trade deficit balloons while our middle class shrinks.
We agree that, as a body, the government is not an ally. Too many politicians are too caught up in politics, with election-year politics being the worst kind. Theyre consumed not only with keeping or getting themselves or their party in power, but also with this global free trade movement that continues to de-industrialize this nation. And the textile and apparel industry seems to be on the bleeding edge of this manufacturing contraction.
Yes, we acknowledge that all of that may be accurate. But were not buying the notion that its over.
THAT SAID, we implore you to trust in yourselves, your livelihoods and your industry. Youve worked too hard to give up now. This industry is beginning to churn again and its up to you to keep it churning. As leaders, you must do that and you must believe in what youre doing. If you dont, who will? Dont rely on others to determine your fate. The mountains may be high and getting higher but its up to you to develop the tools to climb them.
First, though, you must pooh-pooh the pooh-poohers. Look past the cynics, and you may see a future.
Start by telling em there isnt a museum big enough to hold this entire industry.
Go ... do.