Duro Imports Chinese-Made Upholstery

June 6, 2008

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts - Duro Textiles Inc., a long-standing dying and finishing house with printing capability has decided to dip its toe into the residential upholstery business by developing its own line with Zhongwong, a major Chinese mill in Hangzhou. Other suppliers may also be used in the future, a Duro spokesman said.

Zhongwong was also one of the previous joint venture partners with the now defunct Quaker Fabrics Corp.

Eddie Ricci is the CEO of Duro and Genaro Cerce is project manager of the new upholstery business. Duro's major finishing business is Military camouflage, 70 percent of its business today. Duro does not expect to finish the Chinese goods. However, it is possible that specialty finishes may be applied to the Chinese goods in the future according to Richard Katrosak, director of sales for the new venture. He was the former Midwest sales representative for Quaker Fabrics, a Chicago based post he held for 20 years.

Cheryl Girard, previously a designer with Quaker will be designing the new collection expected to debut by Showtime in December and possibly sooner. Xu Chi, a former Quaker textile engineer is also working on the new business. He has a relationship with Zhongwong.

Why is Duro getting involved in the upholstery business one might ask? Katrosak said that Duro sees a diminished domestic supply of residential upholstery in the U.S. market "except for a few boutique mills here."

"Mills in Turkey, India, China and Vietnam have taken over the supply of the US upholstery for furniture manufacturers. Duro has also seen its market decline, especially with U.S. pollution laws making it impossible to do finishing of upholstery the way it was before."

"However, we see the pendulum swinging the other way from China back to the US unless too much of the business has been given away at this point. Due to major increases in Chinese VAT, cost of labor in China and increased raw material costs, Chinese mills are now losing money. We see an opportunity to be a supplier of product in the U.S. as a result."

Initially, the Duro production will be sold to the furniture business in the U.S. with a warehouse in Fall River.

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