Down Lite builds out facilities
By Michele SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, 6/7/2004 12:00:00 AM
MASON, OHIO —
Down Lite International is expanding its two-year-old, 200,000-square-foot finishing plant and warehouse here as well as a processing plant in Cincinnati.
The company will also add an overseas buying office in China by 2005 and is currently researching a new distribution center shipping point on the West Coast.
The Mason facility this month will add two new hausers — machines used in box comforter production — along with automatic sewing lines, effectively doubling capacity, according to company president Larry Werthaiser. Between 80 and 90 percent of the company's production is done in the United States.
Down Lite's processing plant in Cincinnati will increase capacity by 50 percent and improve down consistency with the addition of a fully automatic wash line and sorting equipment, he said.
Werthaiser said that sales so far this year have been up 30 percent over 2003. The expanded facilities are intended to further boost efficiencies.
"We've always been focused on growing our business selectively," he said. Roughly 98 percent of Down Lite's business is private label.
Company executives provided a tour of the facilities during Down Lite's sixth down, feather and fabric seminar last month to discuss industry issues, forecast trends and show retailers how the company operates on a daily basis. Roughly 50 attendees participated, including buyers from Federated, Bloomingdale's, HomeGoods, Belks, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Cuddledown, Frontgate and REI, as well as hospitality clients Avendra and Guest Supply.
Some of the issues covered included flammability law, avian flu's impact on feather and down raw materials (see Page 1), alterations to labeling laws and future global changes affecting the natural-fill industry.
Also on display were new products not shown at the spring 2004 New York Home Textiles Market. Some of the items for pillows and comforters included silk bedding of 50 percent dupioni, 50 percent regular silk; sanded and brushed bedding; and soybean bedding of 52 percent soy and 48 percent cotton; plus a half cotton, half Lyocell 375-count sheet set for $199.99 queen.
Other new items on display were a bamboo pillow shell, two designs of down throws with matching decorative pillows available in four colors, and a $99.99 down bedding set designed for extra-long twin beds.
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