NEW YORK — Omega Textiles has had a busy year, reshaping its product line and expanding geographically.
At the same time, it’s been cleaning up its reputation in the market, which president Charles L. Greenberg readily admits had been getting tarnished.
Among Omega’s moves in the last 12 months:
Exited the highly competitive, import-laden rayon blitz and bengaline fabric market.
Acquired the women’s apparel fabrics business from Erlanger Blumgart, another converter here, in November.
Established a West Coast sales office under the auspices of Marty Beck, whom the firm has charged with heading sales in that region.
Reestablished a presence in the printed fabric market.
“While we’ve reorganized and restructured the firm, the moves alone won’t make us better,” said Greenberg, who founded the firm in 1982, along with Ron Loeser and Mark Edelstein. “We had to make a switch from basic fabrics, which are predominantly imported now, to more special applications.
“We also had lots of delivery and quality problems, and we weren’t servicing the market as well as we should have,” Greenberg said. “We turned a lot of people off.”
Greenberg, one of the company’s four partners, said that three years ago, Omega had sales of about $100 million, but that in 1994, sales were about $80 million. However, they project in excess of $100 million this year.
“By getting out of basics, we lost a lot volume-wise, but blitz and bengaline were products we weren’t making an awful lot of money on,” Greenberg said, interviewed at Omega’s offices here. “You don’t need a lot of sales to make money, just good, solid products.”
Omega’s offerings, enhanced greatly by its Erlanger Blumgart acquisition, now include novelty wovens in blends of rayon and acetate, polyester and rayon and polyester and wool.
The company has also gotten back full-force into the printed fabric arena, offering such printed novelty fabrics as blends of polyester and rayon and 100 percent textured rayon.
“Prints are an important part of the business, but it’s a tough market right now,” said Loeser, another of the firm’s partners. Loeser said 40 percent of its print business is through custom orders, which depend heavily on quick turns.
“That’s one reason we’re staying in the U.S. with our dyeing and finishing rather than relying on imported goods,” said Loeser.
Omega, said Loeser, currently does its dyeing and finishing throughout the South and New England, “avoiding the problems you get when you deal with imported finishing.”
“We aren’t going to say we’ll never do business overseas, but our customers want a quick turn on goods and it’s hard to do that if you’re in Taiwan, Korea or Eastern Europe,” Loeser said.
Edelstein and Paul Reiss are the remaining partners.
While Omega is focusing on firming up its print business, it is also expanding and focusing on the West Coast. The company “never really was successful there,” Greenberg said. Its new Los Angeles sales office opened in September.
Omega’s customers have also noticed a difference.
“Prior to their restructuring, we couldn’t do anything with them,” said Marlon Horn, president of Froxx, a moderate to better dress and sportswear manufacturer here. “They had problems after problems. We were reluctant to jump back into the fire. But they’ve proven that they’ve gotten their act together. Now, we’re back to being a loyal customer.”
Horn said Omega now supplies between 10 and 15 percent of his firm’s fabric, primarily blends of rayon and acetate.