NEW YORK — Stretch-fabric weaver H. Warshow and Sons Inc. is reducing its workforce, reorganizing its management structure and focusing on larger accounts.
Warshow is one of a dwindling number of domestic weavers that have been forced to operate more efficiently to survive as the textile market becomes increasingly global. According to the National Council of Textile Organizations, an industry lobbying group, the U.S. has lost 257 textile mills since 1997, with 20 closing so far this year. At the end of February, according to Department of Labor data, the industry employed 412,800 people, down 51,600 from a year earlier.
The privately held firm, which employs fewer than 500, declined to quantify the workforce reductions. Cuts were made at Warshow’s Manhattan offices, its knitting and weaving facility in Tappahannock, Va., and in its dyeing and finishing plant in Milton, Pa. The firm, which focuses on stretch wovens for swimwear and intimate apparel, also has a growing business supplying fabrics used by the military and athletes.
“We were fat and lazy in the back offices,” said chief executive officer Henry Warshow in an interview. The major cuts were made in the administrative or back office portions of the business.
While there are no plans to add back administrative positions, a recent uptick in sales has the firm increasing its workforce in areas such as knitting and dyeing. Warshow said the firm has moved to a six-day work week at its plants.
Founded in 1911 by Warshow’s grandfather out of a pushcart on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, there are only two Warshows left in the company, Henry and his wife, Miriam, executive vice president.
In the restructuring, the ceo, who retains his title but will now focus on sales, has handed day-to-day operational control of the firm to David Beebe, who was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. Beebe had been senior vice president of operations.
Completing the troika that steers the firm is Ivor Kisberg, who has been promoted to senior vice president of sales administration. Kisberg, who had been vice president of corporate planning reporting to Warshow, now reports to Beebe and is responsible for reorganizing and coordinating the company’s sales.