NEW YORK — In a move to expand beyond its traditional velvet business, converter Wimpfheimer Inc. last month acquired a 50 percent stake in converter Tussah Co. Inc., which specializes in fabric for garment-dyed applications.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s a fast move for us out of our world of velvets into a broader range, a lot more flat fabric,” said Dermot Murphy, vice president of sales for Wimpfheimer.

Ira Sahlman, who had owned Tussah, will retain a 50 percent stake in the operation, which is now a division of Wimpfheimer.

“Today, to survive in the textile business, you can’t just do what you did yesterday,” he said. “The market has left. We’re like the horse-and-buggy manufacturers in 1905.”

He said the company would continue to expand its use of foreign-made fabrics, a necessary move in light of the continued decline of the domestic manufacturing base.

At the end of the month, Tussah will relocate its New York headquarters into Wimpfheimer’s office in the Empire State Building.

With the new division, Wimpfheimer’s annual sales will exceed $15 million, Murphy said.

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