WINDOW COVERINGS INDUSTRY RALLIES SUPPORT
FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS
The window coverings industry has rallied in support of relief efforts for those affected by the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, which struck along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts in late August. Support has been offered in contributions and in offerings for housing and jobs for those displaced by the flooding that followed the storm.
The Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) created a job search database on its Web site to help those affected by the storm. The database allows persons and companies to post job openings to help employ those who have been forced to relocate. It also allows people who have been relocated to look for a job by posting their qualifications.
The WCAA created this database to provide a long-term solution to those forced to evacuate their homes and businesses. One of the points in the WCAA mission statement is to “work for the betterment of the industry.” The association encourages all of its members to offer any help they can.
To access the Job Posting Board, visit the WCAA Web site at www.wcaa.org. There is a link at the top of the page that will link directly to the posting area.
Hunter Douglas, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, also notified its fabricators in early September of a one-for-one match program that would match donations raised for relief efforts. The goal, reportedly, is to raise $300,000. Carlos Diaz, president and CEO of Gulf Coast American Fabrication, Naples, FL, strongly encouraged its employees to participate in the program along with suppliers, friends and customers. A similar appeal was circulated by Lafayette Interior Fashions, West Lafayette, IN.
Norman Shutters, Santa Fe Springs, CA, has announced it will pledge one percent of total sales in August toward Hurricane Katrina relief activities. This amount will support cash donations to relief agencies, special billing accommodations for customers and cash donations for customers in stricken areas.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) also has announced plans for Hurricane Katrina relief, pledging $25,000 to the American Red Cross’ relief efforts and launching a comprehensive resource page on www.asid.org.
“As our nation rallies to assist those devastated and displaced by the Katrina disaster, ASID is dedicated to doing its part to reach out to those in need, including many who are our members, their families and friends,” said ASID President Anita Baltimore, FASID. “ASID also is working with the leadership of its Gulf Coast chapters to provide immediate assistance to members in the area.”
The ASID Hurricane Relief Effort Web page contains information for members requiring immediate assistance or who are recovering from the disaster, members and the general public interested in donating to relief organizations or offering direct assistance to displaced members, and ASID chapters that wish to get involved in relief programs.
ASID also is exploring dues relief for members affected by the disaster and is compiling lists of job opportunities, both temporary and permanent, and showrooms or studios offering free or highly discounted workspace to displaced members.
CONSO MOVES, RESTRUCTURES
Conso International, Union, SC, in September announced dramatic company-wide changes. The changes represent an integration of sales and delivery, manufacturing, inventory systems and a redefined customer-focused product line and are aimed at positioning the company as a dominate force in the decorative trim business for many years to come, the company states.
Leading Conso is a new management team, assembled over the last 16 months, that brings together strong experience in product sourcing, product development, sales and marketing, and manufacturing.
“Since my arrival earlier this year, my single focus has been to recapture the leadership position Conso has earned throughout its 138-year history,” said Jerry Cohn, president and CEO. “We are in a position right now to lead our industry in product design, quality and consistency, customer service and delivery.”
To increase distribution capabilities and efficiency, in January 2006, Conso will close its Union, SC, headquarters and relocate its distribution operations to Nashville, TN. Wm. Wright, Conso’s sister company, will move its distribution from West Warren, MS, to Nashville as well. Both companies are owned by Strategic Industries, but will maintain separate brands and product lines.
“Setting up a co-distribution center is more efficient for both companies, and Nashville’s strategic location in the center of the country gives us easy access to all of our customers from coast to coast,” said Cohn.
Conso’s information systems, inventory, purchasing, planning and human resource operations will move to Wm. Wright’s headquarters in Massachusetts. “By utilizing Wm. Wright’s proven, state-of-the-art technology, information flow and accuracy will improve immediately,” Cohn added.
Additionally, Conso will establish a sales, marketing and product development office in Charlotte, NC, by January. “By locating our product development, sales and marketing activities there, we hope to attract even more experienced, creative professionals to the company,” said Cohn.
To ensure the company maintains its high standards of quality, it is scaling back the number of SKUs to what it calls a more manageable level. However, Conso will still carry a large assortment and variety of products. Its most recent catalog, which shipped in August, includes 4,500 SKUs.
SHUTTER ARCH RECEIVES DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARD
The Shutter Arch System for Palm Beach™ Polysatin Shutters by Hunter Douglas was presented with an Award of Excellence at the 17th Montreal International Interior Design Show. The show, which ran from May 26 to 28, is reportedly the largest high-end design show in Canada and featured more than 250 exhibitors.
The Shutter Arch System of fully operable horizontal louvered arches won first prize in the category of woodwork, stairs, door, windows and glass.
COMFORTEX RINGS IN WOODCHIMES
Comfortex Corp., Maplewood, NY, has introduced the WoodChimes™ wood alloy blind program. The program features two-inch wood alloy slats in five white and wood tone colors. The blinds are made from high-quality wood alloy and are customized from a wide range of pre-made sizes.
Made from a blend of thermal polymers and real American hardwood, the blind material will not chip, crack, fade or warp. The program is sampled in its own sample deck and highlights the program features and benefits.
SLAY ADDS SHUTTER LINE
Slay Mfg. Co., Birmingham, AL, has expanded its wholesale offering of synthetic PolyDesign shutters to include the new DesignerWood Shutter, the company states.
The DesignerWood shutter is a competitively priced shutter that maintains the same quality and five- to seven-day shipping as the premium PolyDesign original shutter. A full line of SunBursts arched top shutters, wide span shutter panels and several specialty frame shapes completes the product offering to Slay’s growing dealer network.
NORMAN SHUTTERS PLEDGES SUPPORT OF HUMANITARIAN
Norman Shutters, Santa Fe Springs, CA, has announced it has donated $300,000 to the Marcus Institute, a private, non-profit organization that diagnoses and assists children with developmental disorders.
“The Marcus Institute is committed to giving children with disabilities and learning problems the building blocks of hope which include education, support, opportunity, encouragement, pride, commitment and determination,” said Charles Shaffer Jr., president and CEO of The Marcus Institute.
“We are extremely happy to partner with The Marcus Institute in its admirable work with disabled children,” said Norman Nien, chairman of Nien Made Enterprises, the parent company of Norman Shutters. “It is extremely gratifying to be able to ensure a better future for all of us through helping children. As an industry leader we feel that it is our responsibility to help those in need,” he added.
DFB, LUTRON TEAM TO LAUNCH QUOTATION SERVICE
DFB Sales, Inc., Long Island City, NY, has announced its alliance with Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., Coopersburg, PA, in launching QuickQuotesm service on its new Web site, www.qedshades.com.
QuickQuote is an online quotation service that gives contractors and installation companies a complete set of specifications and pricing to develop a real-world budget for a competitive edge.
Lutron’s advanced control technology will combine with DFB’s 60 years of experience and result in quality window shade fabrication.
3 BLIND MICE TREATS EIGHT ST. CLARE’S
San Diego, CA-based window coverings firm 3 Blind Mice has donated window treatments and installation for eight St. Clare’s women’s and children’s shelters. Century Blinds offered a generous discount to 3 Blind Mice on the 72 window coverings.
“We are happy to be able to provide new attractive window treatments to enliven the rooms of these special temporary living centers,” said Scot Dietz, owner, 3 Blind Mice. “We believe these additions enhance the mood and morale of the residents.”
The installation of the window coverings were donated by professional installers, Paul Martin, Kevin Frank, Tim Szukala, Dave Johnson and Tony Bowman. Kathleen Patton, a salesperson for 3 Blind Mice, donated her time for measuring the shelters windows.
Founded in 2003, 3 Blind Mice Window Coverings provides window treatments, including blinds, shutters and window tinting, to both private and commercial customers.