Blinds Mart, Glendale, AZ, has acquired Valmark Mfg., a wholesale fabricator of vertical blinds, mini-blinds and two-inch product. The purchase gives Blinds Mart, a franchise window coverings company, complete quality control of its product and will reduce delivery time significantly, the company says.
David Ball, Blinds Mart president, says the acquisition is not an attempt to move the company into factory-direct sales. "We will retain a healthy wholesale level," he adds. Mark Frasier, the former owner of Valmark, assumes control of Blinds Mart's fabricator division. Three New Showrooms Opened
Decorative Hardware Studio, Chappaqua, NY, has opened three new representative showrooms for its lines of drapery, door and furniture hardware.
The showrooms are: Designer's Resource of Sarasota, 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236, (941) 955-4109; Gerald Hargett Associates, 1645 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207, (214) 747-9600; and Gerald Hargett Associates, 5120 Woodway, Ste. 5009, Houston, TX 77056, (713) 626-3100. Warm Products Expands with Purchase
Warm Products, Inc., Woodinville, WA, has acquired the fiber processing and quilting operations of Jen-Cel-Lite Corp., Seattle, WA.
Jen-Cel-Lite has operated in Seattle for more than 40 years providing Northwest manufacturers with outerwear, sleeping bags, mattresses, quilts, comforters and other products that required padded, quilted or needlepunched fabric.
"This acquisition will permit substantial expansion of our products and services," said Jim Chumbley, founder and CEO of Warm Products, which manufactures insulated decorative window coverings among its home decor and sewing industry products. "We expect to retain all Jen-Cel-Lite manufacturing employees and some new jobs will be created," Chumbley added.
With the expansion of its product line, Warm Products will change its name to The Warm Co. It also will move its headquarters to the Jen-Cel-Lite building, 954 E. Union, Seattle, WA. It will retain its warehouse distribution centers in Baltimore, MD, and Antwerp, Belgium. Webb Presentation Leads to Air Time
Rose Webb, sales administrator for Window Fashions, Inc., Cheswick, PA, presented "Color and Design Trends of '96 and '97" as the guest speaker at a private showing for one of the company's accounts in New Orleans, LA. The presentation focused on the combination of hard and soft window treatments.
A local television station, Channel 6, covered Webb's presentation and has scheduled her for a guest spot on one of its talk shows. ACME Relocates Headquarters
ACME Window Coverings, Willowbrook, IL, has expanded and relocated its headquarters. The new state-of-the-art facility is at 7550 Plaza Court, Willowbrook, IL.
The new facility accommodates its advanced distribution and logistic systems and expands the company's overall manufacturing capacity, according to Josh Krengel, president. The new location also offers a fully equipped training center for seminars and workshop sessions. ACME is a full-line Hunter Douglas fabricator, serving the window fashions industry since 1942. EWC Buys SMX Industrial Div.
Eastern Woolen Co. (EWC), St. Paul, MN, has acquired the Industrial Division of Sewing Machine Exchange, Inc. (SMX), Chicago, IL. With the acquisition, EWC will maintain a local office, service department, inventory of parts and supplies at 4595 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60630. EWC handles all of the same equipment and products as SMX and has hired many of the SMX industrial staff, according to a company statement.
EWC was founded in 1900 by Maurice Edelstein. It is a fourth-generation company specializing in industrial sewing and cutting machines. On-line Pros Meet
Regulars of the weekly DraperyPro and WindowPro chat rooms on America Online recently took the opportunity to get away from their computer keyboards and meet face to face.
A casual get-together was hosted by Deb Barrett, Window Dres-sings, Kaneville, IL, and held at Bub City restaurant and club in Chicago, IL. Before sitting down to a hearty meal, happy hour cocktails were sponsored by Steve Beard, Wesco Fabrics, Inc.
Attending the dinner were: back row from left, Beard, Diane Sherman, Val Smith, Stacie Venhor, Howard Shingle, Carolyn Silberman, Barrett, Nancy Rea, Kitty Stein, Teddi Abbondi and Katherine Fisher. Front row, from left: Pam DeCuir, Karen Roberts, Kathleen Stoor, Dian Garbarini and Janice Giancola. Windows and Design Course Begun
Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, has inaugurated an educational course principally for designers and decorators entitled "Windows of Opportunity: The Role of Window Fashions in Interior Design."
The three-hour course is being presented around the country to chapters of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) by Karla J. Nielson, WCAA, Allied ASID and assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. Upon completion, design professionals can receive .3 CEU credits. Hunter Douglas has received accreditation in Florida for this program and is pursuing accreditation in other states.
"Window decorating is an important part of almost any interior design scheme; our course offers valuable, in-depth information," said Miriam Feinseth, director of advertising and communications for Hunter Douglas. Museum Collection Inspires Designers
Designers and decorators on this side of the Atlantic Ocean may be the next to be inspired by the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. Ken Mannering, head of marketing and licensing for the V & A Museum, will be a guest speaker at Hometextil Americas, part of Messe Frankfurt's The World of Home Fashion fair along with The World of Window Coverings[TM], to be held March 20 to 22, 1997, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.
Mannering, along with the U.S. licensing agent Michelle Alfandari, president of Moda International, New York, NY, will discuss in detail the museum's Inspiring Design program. Started in 1994, the program provides licensing arrangements for decorators and manufacturers to work together to create drapery hardware, wall coverings and textiles based on the museum's collection of decorative arts. Cruise Mixes Business with Fun
Before weighing anchor for the Springs Window Fashions Div-ison Fantasy cruise in August, shipmates toasted bon voyage during the Welcome Aboard cocktail party. More than 400 window coverings professionals took the cruise including several from Skandia Industries, Tallahassee, FL.
On their way to a four-day cruise of the Bahamas were, from left, Linda Wiblishauser, Skandia; Brad Michael, Graber; Michelann Sweeney, Skandia Colorado sales manager; Gary Richardson, Graber; and Pete Stewart, Skandia national sales manager.
Onboard dinners were an excellent time for retailers, distributors and fabricators to socialize and even talk business. Rose Webb, Window Fashions, Inc., standing center, mingles with Susan Lang, left, and Julie Neumaier, right, both of Springs, and several other guests. Sunworthy Teams with Alexander Julian
Sunworthy Wallcoverings, Brampton, Ontario, Canada, has entered into a licensing agreement with designer and colorist Alexander Julian. The initial collaborative collection was scheduled for a fall launch under the Alexander Julian Home Colours trademark.
Lori Davis, Sunworthy vice president of marketing, said the affiliation marks an important milestone in the company's new marketing strategy using the fashion sizzle of high profile names. "We are very pleased to add wall coverings to our growing stable of home furnishings clients," said Julian. "Wall covering presents an exciting challenge with the new design possibilities presented by today's technology," he added. Toy Maker Enters Decor Business
OhBaby!, a New York-based specialty toy manufacturer, is entering the juvenile room decor business with licensing agreements with The Children's Television Workshop's Sesame Street, Scholastic's Goosebumps and The Lyon's Group's Barney.
For each license, the company is producing a comprehensive line of room decor and accessory items, which debuted in October at the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association Show in Dallas, TX. Expected to be available in early 1997, the lines will provide "a way for consumers to decorate and accessorize an entire room within one specific license," says Jonathan Breiter, OhBaby! president.
Among the items to be released will be window decor and hardware, bedside lamps, wall switch plates, soft wall hangings and wastepaper baskets. Imperial Opens Automated Distribution Center
Imperial Wallcoverings, Cleveland, OH, has opened a fully automated distribution center in Knoxville, TN, in an effort to speed order processing and reduce dealer freight costs.
The $24 million, 250,000-square-foot facility is said to be the first paperless distribution system in the wall coverings industry. Orders are transmitted to the new facility via computer where a combination of robotics and dedicated associates using bar coding will consolidate every order into a single shipment. "Not only will we be processing orders faster than ever, accuracy will be improved," says Bill J. Brucchieri, president and CEO.