Whiting opts not to sell
By Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, 11/13/2000 12:00:00 AM
CINCINNATI -A decision to re-focus the company's product assortment and cut down on costs has led Dick Whiting to reconsider selling the company his father started and built more than 50 years ago.
Whiting originally made the decision to get out of home textiles manufacturing a year ago and "let someone else have the business if they want," he said. But after meeting with his management team, Whiting Manufacturing will remain after all.
"The effort to sell the company was pretty serious," Whiting, who is president and ceo of the Fairfield, OH-based company, told Home Textiles Today. "We contacted a lot of major players in the industry."
That effort began with the sale of Whiting's Blue Ash, OH, plant to a San Francisco-based developer. Operating costs had climbed while profits had declined so he thought he should sell the entire company, Whiting said. At one point, there was an offer.
"I felt this would be a tremendous opportunity for someone," Whiting said of his decision. "I was interested in removing myself from the day-to-day operations of the business. As time went on, my staff approached me... and convinced me to look at restructuring the company."
After the meeting with his staff, Whiting decided earlier this year not to sell.
Along with the sale of the Blue Ash plant, Whiting eliminated the pillow division and closed its showroom, design and sales office in New York. In addition, he cut the company's Cincinnati outlet store operation, condensed its office staff and inventory, and ultimately decided to stick with what it was doing best, "fashion comforters at a value price," as well as their accessories, said Jerry Momper, vp, sales and marketing.
"We immediately contacted our customers to let them know what our intentions were," he said. "Our customers have been terrific throughout this situation."
Momper added that some customers had become casualties of the transition, but most had decided to stay with Whiting and go forward with the company.
"I am very happy with the decision to go forward, and I plan on being in this business for years to come," Whiting said.
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