Conso Products Co., Union, SC, was scheduled to close a "definitive agreement" to acquire Simplicity Patterns Co., United Kingdom, in late June. The cash purchase price was stated as $33 million. The combined net sales for Conso and Simplicity is reported as $126 million for the 12-month period that ended March 31, 1998.
Simplicity is a producer of instructional patterns and catalogs and has been a well known international brand name for 72 years in the home sewing and decorating markets. It produces patterns and catalogs for apparel, home decoration, crafts and costumes. It had net sales of $55 million for the fiscal year that ended January 31, 1998.
Conso, an international producer of decorative trimmings for home furnishings, has grown from net sales of $12 million in 1986 into a global products company with manufacturing facilities in the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and India. The company also sells decorative window hardware accessories and publishes a variety of instructional publications for the use of decorative trimmings, tassels and window hardware.
Conso plans to continue using both brand names and to focus on the synergies between the two companies. Conso Chairman Cary Findlay will serve as chairman, president and CEO of the combined companies. Lou Morris will continue as president of Simplicity in New York. Duane Southerland will continue as president of Conso.
Vertek Teams with Levolor
Vertek, Inc., Alsip, IL, has announced a new partnership with Levolor Home Fashions (LHF), High Point, NC. The announcement was made at an open house held in late June.
Vertek will fabricate Kirsch, LouverDrape and Joanna products and distribute Kirsch, LouverDrape, Levolor and Del Mar custom products. In addition, Vertek will fabricate its own line of custom vertical blinds, shutters and roller shades for the independent dealer and contractor markets.
Vertek was founded by Tom and Mary O'Connor in 1982. It serves Midwest independent retail dealer and contractor markerts with a full line of custom window coverings. The company employs 50 at its 30,000-square-foot facility near Chicago.
"We chose to partner with LHF for many reasons. LHF is strongly committed to the independent dealer and fabricator markets . . . [and] to the growth and financial stability of the fabricator," said Tom O'Connor, Vertek president.
The company's open house was attended by 250 customers and guests including several representatives from Levolor: Tom Kritsell, vice president of operations; Elton Potts, vice president and controller; and David Burnett, national sales manager.
Bandalux Receives Primes Award
Bandalux, Barcelona, Spain, part of the Vertilux Collection group of companies, was one of three recipients of the Primes 98 awards at a ceremony held in May. The company was selected for its success in Spain's business community. Emiliano Garcia, Bandalux CEO, was presented the prestigious award by the Prince of Asturias, son of S.M. Don Juan Carlos of Borbón, King of Spain.
The awards are presented based on a company's improvement in productivity, technological innovation, investment, internationalization, new organization techniques and employee motivation.
Bandalux also was the largest and most well represented window coverings manufacturer to exhibit at the Veteco International Trade Show, an important European trade show for the window coverings and external building facade industries. Bandalux displayed the Vertilux Collection line of products. The show was held at the Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I located at Campo de las Naciones in northern Madrid, Spain. It featured the latest in window coverings, drop ceilings, awnings, doors and partitions and gates.
Horizontal Component Line Introduced
Genes Industry, Anaheim, CA, has introduced its new line of horizontal components for wood, aluminum and PVC blinds. The program is immediately available in high- and low-profile specifications.
Hunter Douglas Division Gains ISO Registration
The Hunter Douglas Pleated Shade Division, Gastonia, NC, has gained registration under the International Organization for Standardization ISO 9002-94 quality standards. Registration establishes the division as one of the few window coverings manufacturers in North America to have met the criteria.
ISO 9000 is an internationally acknowledged series of quality standards that outline the requirements for total quality management systems. Since its development in 1987, it has become the most widely used and accepted system for rating quality management and quality assurance and is the benchmark in more than 50 countries.
"The implementation of the approved quality system required the establishment of new monitoring mechanisms and employee training sessions that emphasized total quality management ideals," said Cameron Croston, quality assurance manager for the Hunter Douglas division. "This new system should help us realize our goals: to provide even better quality products and superior service to our customers."
Kirsch's Vernier Opens ASID Forum
Kristine Vernier, marketing communications manager for Kirsch and Newell Window Furnishings, Freeport, IL, opened the American Society of Interior Designers' forum, "Getting In Sync with Interior Design Clients," held at NeoCon '98 in Chicago, IL. The forum marked the official unveiling of Phase III of ASID's Strategic Mapping Research.
ASID's research reveals what interior design clients really want from interior designers. It also displays, via graphic mapping, where the major differences are between what clients want and what interior designers think they want. Kirsch, an ASID Industry Partner, is one of six corporate sponsors of Phase III. Vernier also serves on ASID's Industry Advisory Board.
The Phase III research reports a major shift in how designers are responding to the call for consultation from clients. Interior designers are increasingly viewing their role as a professional consultant who elicits and understands needs and provides solutions that are desired, not imposed. This role matches the consumer trend.
When talking about why designers are used, selected or valued only 29.2 percent of designers in 1997 mentioned the consultation role. In 1998, following a focused communications campaign about the value of consultation, the mentions hit 75.4 percent. Among clients there also was a significant increase from 55.2 percent in 1997 to 73.2 percent in 1998.
Copies of reports on all three parts of the Strategic Mapping Research can be purchased through ASID, (202) 546-3480.
DDI Canada Launches Habitat Campaign
The Ontario Region of Decorating Den Interiors (DDI), Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, launched its official fund-raising campaign in June to raise $50,000 to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity Canada home for a chosen family in 1999.
Throughout July and August, DDI franchisees and staff have been seeking sponsors as they volunteer help at actual Habitat building sites. Sponsorships can come from friends, clients, the general public and companies wishing to help with this project.
Habitat for Humanity Canada is a non-profit housing organization that has built more that 250 homes since its founding in 1985. Recipient families are chosen based on their level of need and are required to invest their own time and labor in the building of their homes.
For more information, contact Linda Fagg, DDI Ontario Region director, (519) 658-9300.
Superior Rolls Out Additional Lines
Superior Shade & Blind Co., Pompano Beach, FL, has rolled out additional lines of its products available to fabricators.
The Millennium[TM] Collection of two-inch horizontal blinds is offered in a wide range of engraved PVC, reflective metallic PVC and foam wood slats in 10 stock sizes and custom-made sizes.
Two-toned Mylar mini-blinds are available in 11 stock sizes and come packaged six blinds to a carton and include coordinating valances. Each slat is half reflective Mylar and half black or alabaster.
New Product Creates Etched Glass Look
EtchArt, Inc., Altamonte Springs, FL, has introduced an adhesive-free window covering that clings to glass to create the look and feel of etched glass. Wallpaper for Windows![TM] can be used to decorate windows, glass doors and shower enclosures to provide privacy and filter out 95 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Fiberglass Laminate for Shades, Verticals
J. Gimbel Inc., Woodhaven, NY, has introduced a decorative fiberglass material that is laminated to blackout backing for the roller shade and vertical blind industry.
The material is washable, will not curl and meets Fire Code 701. It is available in three styles and in translucent.