Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Yenta Is Baaaaack!

Happy Monday Yentees,

The Yenta is back with another installment of news a.k.a. gossip.  Like I mentioned last time, I don’t really consider it to be gossip since it really is all fact in spite of what some want to believe.  The only thing is that it might be gossip to you since you haven’t heard it until now.  Before I get in to the heart of the Yenta for this week, I wanted to clarify one thing from the first Yenta installment.  Regarding the contraction that I predicted in the fabric industry, you should know that the contraction will affect everyone including my companies too. Unfortunately, no one is immune.  So in spite of what some might have thought I said, the contraction is hitting everyone, but it just hits everyone differently….some worse than others.

Anyway, last week I discussed the unfortunate demise of a couple companies/divisions to the benefit of the rest of the industry, but this week I am discussing the combination (mergers & acquisitions) of others. I have two to discuss:

  1. This is old news by now, but news nonetheless.  On or around the time of the 2016 October Quilt Market, Wyndham bought Anthology Fabrics.
  2. Just this past week, it was announced that the distributor, Troy Corporation, out of Chicago, Illinois was purchased by a company that I had never heard of before, Midwest Embroidery Supplies out of Farmington, Missouri.  I look forward to meeting the new owners and working closely with them as we have had a longstanding and fantastic relationship with the Troy’s.

Congratulations to all companies involved with these deals.  Good luck!

My brief comments on the M&A are this.  The Wyndham deal is a good one for our industry as it combines two entities that can now benefit from the synergies of being one combined entity.  More  deals like this would be welcomed in our industry as far as I am concerned.  It would also help to reduce the number of suppliers as there is just an overabundance.  On the other hand, the Troy/Midwest deal doesn’t really have any major benefit to the future of our industry because it really just keeps Troy in the game under a new owner who isn’t a big player in fabric at all.  That being said, it is probably a good deal for Troy, but it doesn’t help the other fabric distributors or convertors who are dealing with the contraction.

Mary Jo Cloninger of Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop.

I unfortunately have some very sad news to report.  This past Friday I got an email informing me that Mary Jo Cloninger of Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, North Carolina passed away at 85 years old.  Since I go down to the Carolina’s most frequently on business, I often had the opportunity to work with Mary Jo on various occasions.  The one thing I would never forget about Mary Jo was how she would always insist on 20-25 yard bolts.  She would always say anything less than that is a remnant.  She was always shocked to hear that the chain stores were taking 8 yard bolts. Anyway, the fabric industry is losing a true gem.  Rest in peace Mary Jo, you will be missed.  My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

On a lighter note, as a follow up to my previous blog about Monopoly changing their game pieces, it’s official that the thimble, shoe, wheelbarrow and iron are gone.  In is the rubber duck, penguin and Tyrannosaurus rex…really?  They will join the Scottie dog, top hat, cat, race car and battleship.  Next year, we fabric people should vote for the sewing machine.  The Yenta is now out of ammo for the time being.

Until Next Week,

This is Scott Fortunoff the fabric yenta signing off.

PEACE!

 

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Fabric Yenta Is Here!

The fabric yenta?  Yenta is a Jewish/Yiddish word for a person who is a gossiper.  Speaking of Jewish though, I would be remiss if I didn’t say my piece about how disgusting it is that there are cowards making robo-calls to JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) throughout the US.  They are trying to instill fear upon these amazing establishments and all the people that enjoy them (both Jewish and non-Jewish) on a daily basis.  Not only that, but loads of other Jewish organizations are being bombarded with antisemitic threats too. Without going in to too much more detail on my fabric blog, my parting words to these cowardly haters, and all haters for that matter is,  shame on you and get a life you disrespectful freaking losers!  Finally, in case you were wondering what you could do to support a JCC, please check out this link as it contains some good ideas.

Before going any further, I am going to take a quick little victory lap around my little office and pat myself on the back too.  Ewww…that feels kind of nice.  The victory lap is not for the victory, but more for predicting what I saw coming in the quilting industry.  Anyway, it is not a victory because I am not happy to see this happen to our industry, nor am I am happy that this is happening to some of my friends.  But, that all being said, I think this will be healthy for the industry.  What’s going on in the industry Scott?  For a while now, I have been predicting, on my blogs, a contraction in our industry where the number of suppliers and resellers of fabric would be reduced. In other words, it’s like Darwin’s survival of the fittest.
So the fabric yenta is here to tell you what’s going on.  The truth is that what I am going to tell you are facts so I don’t know if spreading facts is considered gossip or not, but that is what I am going to call it.  Ok, ok…I know you can’t take the suspense.  The contraction or shrinkage of our industry has begun.  For starters, we not too long ago lost Hancock Fabrics to bankruptcy and there are now only about 3 real major big box chains selling fabric.  Number two, Kona Bay just shut its doors after over 26 years in business.  Number three, just last week Red Rooster shut its doors and the owners are just sticking with their P&B brand. Number four, I hear on a weekly basis that more and more quilt shops are closing their doors too.  This is probably just the beginning.

There is more though.  Big shots in our industry i.e. the heavy hitters who we all know so well are losing their jobs.  There are many stories like this, but I am not going to name all the names.  I will speculate that companies can’t continue to pay high earners what they are used to making because sales no longer justify it.  It is as simple as that.

I am going to mention specifically what is going on at Fabric-Quilt, Inc. John & Sue, who I am sure you all know and thought owned Fabric-Quilt, Inc. (they didn’t) were let go, fired, quit, separated, retired or something like that. You can classify it how you want, but long story short is that they are no longer with Fabric-Quilt, Inc.  I have to tell you that the timing of that separation was flat out bad in my humble opinion. This is not the time to let go the people that are considered to be the faces of the company and the backbone too.  I guess we will have to wait and see how that decision pans out….my guess is not so well.

There is still more though.  Rumors of companies not able to pay their bills and bouncing checks.  Sales reps not getting paid on time or not getting paid at all. Suppliers cutting their work weeks down to 3 or 4 days. Companies are cutting travel and the expenses that go with it. And of course, people are going to be shrinking their quilt market footprint or they are not going to attend at all.  As for smaller regional shows, those too are struggling.  The list goes on and on and the carnage continues to grow.  People, our industry is in a mini-crisis and the dominoes are starting to fall. Please be careful and try not to be part of the bloodshed. With that, I would say it is time to take a gut check and evaluate if your business can survive what is clearly before us…the contraction.

To wrap this up, I wanted to let you know that you can rest assured that Jaftex and all its companies (Studioe Fabrics, Henry Glass Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp., A.E. Nathan Co., Inc. & Fabric Editions) are in a strong financial position and you can certainly rely on us as a loyal supplier and friend for many more years to come.  Finally, for our competitors that are struggling, you know that you can always come and talk to us about joining our organization as we would welcome the opportunity to add more strong brands to our arsenal as well as your experienced employees.

Until Next Week,

This is Scott Fortunoff the fabric yenta signing off.

PEACE!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Time To Post Your American Honor Contest Entry

Happy Monday Everyone,

I know that this is really supposed to be my blog just for Studioe Fabrics stuff, but since I am the president of Studioe Fabrics and The Blank Quilting Corp., I sometimes need to blur those lines and mix things up. Who is kidding who?  This is my blog and I can do as I wish, right?  If you have a problem with that, you can start your own blog and write something unique and special every single week for the rest of your life. How do you really feel Scott (lol)?  I digress. Anyway, I feel that this is an important message for all as this is for such a great cause and everyone could have some fun at the same time.

American Honor Quilt Challenge

In any case, last year The Blank Quilting Corp. came out with a line called American Honor by Tana Mueller of Western Denim & Dirt. The American Honor line evoked a lot of emotions pertaining to American Soldiers who lost their lives protecting this great country. With those emotions came the idea of creating a contest using the American Honor fabric line.  Here is a link to the American Honor line in case you haven’t seen it.  It is really something else in that it really hits home.

So, what I am here to tell you today, and for the whole month of March, is that the time has finally come for all entrants to start posting their projects on the contest landing page.   As of the first week of March, we have not yet received one submission… WAAHHH!  I am sure that everyone is putting the finishing touches on their masterpieces as they want to put their best foot forward to try and get their hands on one of the great prizes that are being offered.  One special feature of this contest is that not only do top 10 contestants win, but also the top 10 contestants’ shops of choice win too.  Go to this link and skip down to the prizes section to see what the winners will get.  You could also view all the rules and other info about the contest.

That is my message for this week.  Keep in mind also that it is only March 6, so there is definitely still time to get out there and buy some American Honor fabric to whip up a quick contest submission before April 1. Speaking of April 1, 2017, that is when the voting will begin.  So, even if you did not submit a project, you will still have the opportunity to vote on your favorite project.  Please make sure to exercise your right to vote.

Wishing everyone the best of luck!  May the best projects win! Thank you for participating and supporting this effort.  We greatly appreciate your involvement.  We hope you had fun.

Until Next Week,

This is American Honor Scott