D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and its history.
Don Kapit: Metro Mills was formed in 1969 by my father, Al Kapit, and Frank Pepe who parlayed their varied expertise and formulated a game plan for the company that would continue to thrive for some 27 years and two generations. While covering his New Jersey sales territory, my father met Pepe, who at the time was managing a small workroom. Al had been in fabric sales and was involved in marketing and merchandising when he teamed with Frank, whose manufacturing skills and production efficiency laid the foundation for what is the current Metro Mills.
Today the company is in the hands of its second generation of business owners -- myself and Fred Pepe. Fred and I have been at the helm for some five years now. Remarkably our talents mirror those of our fathers. I have taken on the role as lead man in Metro Mills' merchandising and marketing schemes while personally keeping a close watch on some 16 sales representatives. I've also been responsible for putting the company at the forefront of the computer age through programming and installing our current system. Fred's role is one of varying skills while overseeing all facets of production including the purchasing of equipment. Fred also handles the commercial and contract end of the business and at times can be found assisting with the many specialty items Metro Mills produces.
Starting in just 2,000 square feet of space some 27 years ago, Metro Mills currently manufactures in 25,000 square feet while employing some 60 people.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Fred Pepe: Initially Metro Mills manufactured draperies and top treatments using customers' own materials. Over a period of time we began to formulate our own fabric and labor programs for finished products. These products now include draperies and top treatments, cornices, Roman shades, balloon shades, headboards and a complete line of custom bedding products such as comforters, bedspreads, dust ruffles, pillow shams and accessory items like toss pillows, tablecloths, cushions and chair pads all custom made with either C.O.M. or our own fabric line.
D&WC: Give a percentage breakdown of these products.
Pepe: The company has a well balanced product line. Window treatments and custom bedding products each generate approximately 45 percent of our total sales. The remaining 10 percent is for the accessory market.
D&WC: Is your business computerized?
Kapit: One of the first changes Fred and I made was computerizing Metro Mills. All of the company's order processing, inventory and order updating are computerized. Our system also provides us with a variety of analysis reports in an assortment of categories for both sales and products.
Metro Mills also has invested in computerized machinery. We currently operate computerized quilting, sewing and measuring machines.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
Kapit: Our customer base is as varied as our product line. They are furniture stores, home decorating stores and centers, designers, architects and department stores that offer custom draperies.
These accounts are serviced by our very capable sales representatives throughout the country. Metro Mills products and samples can be found from Maine to Florida in the East in addition to the Midwest and mid-East states.
D&WC: How has your segment of the industry changed since you first began?
Kapit: The industry has changed dramatically over time. Attention to details and the cost factor, knowing the price the ultimate consumer is willing to spend on our products, has brought about the most change. With the latest in technology Metro Mills has been able to maintain its quality while being cost effective. We feel we produce a fine product for a fair price.
In addition, in order to maintain a competitive edge, our service and customer attentiveness is very much a hands-on program. From reviewing an architect's specifications, to assisting a store owner or designer with a window treatment solution, to offering a free delivery service in certain areas, we try to maintain a small business philosophy while serving some 3,500 accounts.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Kapit: Our niche is that we are a complete manufacturing source. We can offer a variety of products and services ultimately saving our customers time and money. In speaking to new customers, I tell them we don't sell just fabric books, we sell a complete program.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Pepe: One key factor tied to our growth and success has been our multiple presentation of a product or fabric line. We present our products and market them in many different formats for our many types of customers. When one can offer the combination of a diverse product line priced competitively to a large and varied customer base throughout many geographic areas, it's indeed a key factor.
Another key factor is that we have been able to combine our fabric line with our labor costs, thus producing a high quality finished product at a competitive price. Our fabric line is the leading edge of style and offers something for everyone from the latest in sheers, contemporary and traditional prints, solid chintzes, moirés, satins, jacquards and brocades. All have led to increased sales and growth.
D&WC: Do you offer any products other than window coverings?
Kapit: Our custom bedding and quilted products are a large portion of our business. We offer hand-guided outline quilting, machine quilting and computerized quilting designs.
These options are available on all our comforters, bedspreads, pillow shams, valances and specialty items.
D&WC: Do you educate your customers?
Kapit: Seminars have become an important tool for doing business with many customers. For the multiple store owner or department store manager, personally meeting with their sales staffs has proven invaluable. We are able to assist them on the hows and whys of selling our products.
As previously stated, at Metro Mills we sell a finished product program featuring a multitude of fabric and product combinations. It is only natural that we include our service and support in order to assist our customers in becoming better skilled themselves.
Metro Mills Manufacturer and supplier of custom-made and C.O.M. bedspreads, draperies, valances, cornices, lambrequins, Roman and pleated shades and accessories available with fabric.
Address : 151 Linwood Ave., Paterson, NJ 07502
Telephone: (201) 942-8885
Toll free: (800) 631-0244
Fax: (201) 942-4109