Garnier-Thiebaut expands offerings through acquisition of Hilden America.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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For centuries, high-end hotels, restaurants and casinos have known Garnier-Thiebaut for designing and manufacturing the highest quality French table linens.
Now, with its just-announced acquisition of Hilden America Inc., the Arlington, VA-based company will offer even more services to its customers, according to Jean-Philippe Krukowicz, who takes over as president and CEO after serving as vice president of sales and marketing. Garnier-Thiebaut plans to operate both companies through the end of the year, then fully merge them in 2011.
"For the industry, it's two great brands," Krukowicz said. "The Garnier-Thiebaut brand is recognized for the quality of its table linen, and Hilden America for the quality of its bed linen. The history of our companies is insurance for our customers. They know our quality."
The immediate benefit for customers is having a one-stop-shop for both table linens and bed linens, with even faster turnaround times for custom orders. The company will continue to operate the Hilden America cut-and-sew operation in southwestern Virginia with more than 25 seamstresses.
Customers also will have access to an increased stock selection, more competitive prices and even better customer service. Hilden America brings the company stock terry products, including robes, slippers and beach towels.
"We can have things made quickly," Krukowicz said. "If someone wants a special finishing on a duvet cover, we can do that very quickly. Most companies don't have a cut-and-sew operation. They have to go back to their source, and that will take some time. Here, we have the ability to ship custom product very quickly."
But its crown jewel is still the Garnier-Thiebaut factory in France. Garnier-Thiebaut can produce a product in custom sizes, colors and design, as well as add logos to the linen. It can provide this service with extremely low minimum requirements. While many of its competitors will only consider orders of at least 3,000 units, Garnier-Thiebaut can serve custom orders of just 300 units.
"The mix of these two companies will give us the ability to pursue any type of market," Krukowicz said. “We can be much more diversified in what we are doing than before. It gives us a wider range of product. We can be a one-stop solution for hotels. Hotels want to do restaurant linens, banquet linens, bed linens and terry -- they can get everything from us fast."
Garnier-Thiebaut took on the challenge of making an acquisition in the middle of a tough economy because Krukowicz knew that it would allow the company to serve the most customers possible.
With 12 generations of experience in the textile industry, Garnier-Thiebaut has the history and knowledge to guide its clients through even the toughest times, such as the recent cotton shortage that caused prices to skyrocket and some factories to close. Because of the size of the company, Garnier-Thiebaut is able to get the supplies it needs to deliver to its customers.
"It was a company that we were looking at for the past two years to buy out because of the proximity and because of the reputation of the company," Krukowicz said. "It was an easy acquisition for us. It's also a very good opportunity to have a wider range of product, and even more table linen, to offer our customers and be very attractive on prices. For the Garnier-Thiebaut customer, they will be able to have a wider selection of bed linen as well as terry. For the Hilden customer, they can have bed linen, terry, banquet and now a broader range of table linen."
Garnier-Thiebaut has added to its customer service team and will retain all employees from both companies.
"We have a great team of people," he said. "Our reps are very happy because they have a wider range of product to offer."