US Yarn Gildan

By owning every step of the manufacturing process, Gildan ensures the consistency retailers and customers want.

By Tim O’Connor

Office culture has become much more relaxed over the last decade, at least when it comes to dress codes. T-shirts and jeans are now regularly sighted among cubicles and every day may as well be casual Friday for many companies. Some may lament the loss of formality, but the cultural shift is good business for clothing maker Gildan. The company’s high-quality T-shirts are now a part of many people’s daily lives as consumer amass a collection of Gildan-made clothing from retailers, concerts and 5K runs. “Everybody now understands that Gildan is a T-shirt leader,” Vice President of Marketing for Gildan’s Branded Apparel division, Rob Packard says.

Gildan’s path to becoming one of the largest clothing apparel companies in the world began in 1984. The Chamandy family operated a children’s clothing business in Montreal when they decided to start producing their own textiles to lower cost. By the early 1990s, the company entered the screen-print market by manufacturing plain T-shirts that could be printed on. Today, Gildan is a publically owned company with CEO Glenn Chamandy, one of the founders and still CEO of the company.

Pine Valley Foods has nurtured a loyal following of consumers that turn to the company’s cookie dough when they need a sweet treat. “If they have the opportunity to buy it again, they do,” CEO Joseph P. Giildenzopf says, noting that 95 percent of the company’s sales are repeat. 

This is thanks to the company’s “very exceptional staff of hardworking people,” he says. “They give a good deal of time and energy to the company. We make a really good product that people like.”

Based in West Monroe, La., Pine Valley manufactures dough and related products, including cakes. Giildenzopf founded the company in 1998, after working for a similar firm that he had originally founded and sold.

With consumers’ tastes shifting to healthier foods and more produce, California’s Central Coast has had its share of changes in keeping up with dietary trends. Who a few years ago would have predicted Americans’ growing interest in kale and brussels sprouts? But the dozen growers who supply Muzzi Family Farms with its raw product for its fresh and frozen processing operations have been adjusting their product mixes to keep up with shifting demand. 

Muzzi Family Farms is one of the few companies in the Central Coast that processes both fresh and frozen vegetables, mainly for the foodservice industry. It is the sales entity for the fresh produce that is processed by its sister company, Watsonville Produce, and the frozen produce of another sister company, Blue Ribbon Frozen Foods.

For more than 25 years, the name of Murad  and its founder, Dr. Howard Murad, have been closely associated with unique skincare solutions. As a board-certified dermatologist and trained pharmacist, Dr. Murad pioneered the concept of “internal skincare” by encouraging the use of dietary supplements to promote healthy skin, and Murad’s  line of skincare products have become widely available on store shelves and in spas, furthering the extension of the Murad brand. 

From the company’s beginnings in 1989, Murad  has grown into one of the most popular skincare brands in the world, with product lines ranging from anti-aging to acne care. Dr. Murad says the company has developed a broad customer base consisting of people of all ages and walks of life, thanks in large part to its wide and varied range of distribution channels. But the heart and soul of what makes Murad’s products successful is the company’s never-ending commitment to developing products that push the envelope, ss well as the brand’s commitment to Dr. Murad’s Inclusive Health Philosophy, which is to inspire people to look better, live better and feel better through a whole-person approach to skincare.

Chukar Cherries was doing all-natural and locally sourced before it was cool. In the past 15 years, the Washington-based manufacturer of fruit products rethought its organization and turned a good concept into a thriving business. “From the very beginning, we defined what we were going to do and what we weren’t going to do,” owner Pam Montgomery says of Chukar’s natural approach. “We wanted the product line to be a mix of wholesome and decadent with a limited number of ingredients. We wanted a well-operated work environment where employees could be creative, part of a team, and rewarded.”

“Our focus has always been on the best of nature, the best of chocolate,” Montgomery says. That motto has been a key motivator since Montgomery founded the company. Montgomery was 30 and a mother of three young girls in 1986 when she decided to move from Seattle and bought a cherry orchard with 8,000 trees in Prosser, Wash. At the end of each season, cherries were harvested by hand, leaving many trees unpicked or only partially picked. 

Founded in 1986, Alaskan Brewing Co. has come a long way since co-founders Marcy and Geoff Larson enlisted 88 investors throughout Alaska to start their Juneau-based brewery. At the time, there were fewer than 100 operating breweries in the nation. Today, Alaskan Brewing produces more than 150,000 barrels annually from it single brewery in Juneau, and it is one of the top 20 craft breweries in the United States as defined by the Brewers Association. 

“We faced financial and logistical challenges to brew beer in the Last Frontier, but we brought a unique skill set to the task of opening a brewery in Alaska,” Marcy Larson says. “Geoff was a chemical engineer and a home brewer, and I was an adventure-seeking accountant and aspiring bush pilot.”

Consumers may not always notice wire racks that display retail products. But retailers who focus on marketing and product placement understand the critical role they serve.

Many of those retailers look to Wireline.net, a leading manufacturer of store merchandising accessories and point-of-purchase displays. The Hayward, Calif.-based company has built a reputation since 1965 for working closely with its customers to offer effective display solutions.

With 50 years of merchandising experience, the company is a leader in the industry. “We are relied on and trusted for manufactured metal displays,” President Kyle Robinson says. “We’ve evolved in certain ways, but we’ve always been about merchandise.” Wireline.net has adapted to market fluctuations by partnering with retailers and brand markets to develop display solutions to meet specific needs.

Since its start in 2002, Vigoss USA has established itself has a well-known force in the world of denim, CEO and founder David Kubresi says. Today, the company is proud that retailers such as Nordstrom and Maurices carry its denim products.

Based in New York City, Vigoss USA’s denim products include, but are not limited to jeans, skirts, shorts and maternity wear. When Kubresi started the company, he chose its specialty based on how lucrative it could be with American consumers.

“One of the things I was debating [was whether] to get into athletic footwear or get into the denim products,” he recalls, noting that he ultimately chose denim, due to its popularity in the marketplace.

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