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Stout Introduces Upscale Fabric Brand, Continues Growth as Major Decorative Jobber

October 23, 2018

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Stout releases its new upscale fabric brand: KAI by Marcus William.
Stout releases its new upscale fabric brand: KAI by Marcus William.

By RAY PARKER

Colmar, Pa. -- The Stout Brothers Company, with annual sales of $20 to $30 million, recently introduced a new upscale fabric brand, continuing its growth as a major decorative jobber.

By partnering with U.K.-based KAI, Stout officials predict it will help fuel from an estimated 6 percent to 8 percent growth in 2019. The exclusive designs are available through Stout’s line of Marcus William products.

John Greenawalt, Stout web development and marketing manager, said the company started the Marcus William line six years ago, steering toward the high-end market. The latest, KAI by Marcus William, brings a new sophistication.

“It’s very European in style and coloration,” Greenawalt said. “There’s a need for this in the U.S.”

This is just the latest development in many that the company has undergone since starting in 1927.

“(We will) continue growing our Marcus William brand of fabrics through partnerships and designer programs,” Greenawalt said. “We will also continue developing our hardware program and focus on performance fabrics. We expect to continue hiring fulltime company reps across the country, as we have been over the last few years.”

Another important change involves Stout partner Mark Rickers, who joined the firm 45 years ago, retiring at the end of October. He is one of three equal partners. The others are Bill and Mark Greenwald, third-generation owners.

“Because of e-commerce competition, we now feel we have to have a certain percentage of our line that is exclusive,” Buyer Rickers said. “To prevent customers shopping online for just the best price, (we want them) notching up to some exclusive product. But we don’t want to lose the marketing base, so we're just adding to the line with exclusive product.”

Read Rickers’ full interview by clicking here.

A larger version of this story, inlcluding our list of the Top 30 North American Jobbers, will be in our winter print edition. Copies will be available during the Showtime and Heimtextil trade shows.


Edmund Bell
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