Marriage of Converter and Mill Works for Rapier-Cambridge and Covington

September 5, 1999

High Point, NC (USA) -- Rapier-Cambridge has ex-panded its distribution of mill wovens by adding coordinated prints since its acquisition by Covington Industries Inc. in January, according to Bob Ellsweig, president of Rapier and Fame divisions.
"Our business is growing significantly since the acquisition by our ability to take an increased market share of the fabric business with our coordinating packages. We believe that our marriage to Covington Industries will take us well into the next level. Before we became part of Covington Industries, we could only offer plaids, stripes and plains. Now we can provide our customers with their total fabric needs."
"After 34 years in this business, this is an exciting new challenge for me," continued Ellsweig. "Our alliance with Covington Industries instantly put us in the window, bedding, jobber and retail business. Until now, we couldn't offer the array of products now available to us through Fame. We now are able to offer something for every room of the house."
Even though the core of the business is furniture, the addition of Fame to the mix has helped the company expand on all fronts, he said.
"Our full range of fabrics is priced from $3.25 to $12.50. We used to top out at $4.95 with the basic bread and butter items we were making as a mill. Now we have much more to offer."
"We're able for the first time to offer a complete package of wet prints and heat transfer prints, drapery sheers and wovens converted through our Fame fabrics division. When we were just Rapier-Cambridge, we didn't have this capability," said Ellsweig. We now offer body cloth for sofas with different fabrics on the pillows, chair and ottoman; that's more and more skus on the same furniture frame. Additionally, we offer items for the bed, kitchen and bath."
Bob handles sales to the furniture industry while son Erick handles operations in High Point. His great grandfather started Rapier-Cambridge Mills during the depression in 1930. Over the course of Rapier's 70 years, they were viewed as a solid furniture niche player supplying notable companies such as Castro Convertibles in the 30's, 40's and 50Õs and heavy hitters such as Klaussner today. From the New York showroom, national sales manager, Oscar Reig Plaza, directs the selling efforts to the decorative industry.
Plaza worked for Covington Fabrics for eight years, giving him an excellent knowledge of the many
trades open to the Rapier-Cambridge Mills and Fame products. Rapier-Cambridge Mills presents an opportunity for him to bring great looks and values to the extensive customer base, he said. His market includes Mexico and Canada.
Recently, Covington Industries entered the final stages of a multi-million dollar project to consolidate the former Rapier-Cambridge Mills facilities into an upgraded and expanded Covington facility in Calhoun Falls, S.C.
Due to the proximity of the three facilities, a majority of Rapier-Cambridge Mills employees made the move
to Calhoun Falls. Covington employees participated in the expansion of the Calhoun facilities in preparation for the consolidation. All employees are still undergoing extensive training on newly acquired machinery.
To celebrate completion of the project, Covington hosted a picnic for the new mill's 400 employees and respective family members. In addition to live country music, the day was filled with games and food. Abby Gilmore, chairman, and Roger Gilmartin, executive vice president, were present for the festivities. Said Gilmore, "The day
provided an opportunity
for everyone to enjoy themselves after months of hard work and also confirmed Covington's commitment to the continued growth and expansion of Rapier-Cambridge."

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