February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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BUSINESS WATCH 8 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 NNEP Celebrates 20 Years KENT, Ohio—The National Network of Network of Embroidery Professionals, otherwise known as the NNEP, celebrates its 20th anniversary on June 21, 2016. Originally founded as an offshoot from a family business, NNEP has maintained a grass- roots model while flourishing as a viable resource for professionals in the embroidery industry. Printwear spoke with NNEP founder Jennifer Cox on the his- tory and future of the company. "The road that led to NNEP began in a needle arts boutique that my mom purchased in the late 80s when she got out of hospital administration," says Cox. She explains that her parents' embroidery business started with handstitched techniques like needlepoint and crochet and ventured into larger production with the addition of a single- needle sewing machine. Cox took over the embroidery side of the family business soon after and subsequently watched it grow in the years following. Cox's business grew into a much busier operation, doubling several times and requiring a full-time salesperson and production facility. "Then we hit a plateau," Cox notes. After consulting with other embroidery professionals for insight and support, Cox discov- ered that the embroidery industry lacked a practical support network where constituents could obtain assets like educational resources and business advice. This lack of resources sparked Cox's inspiration to found NNEP. On June 21, 1996, the organization's first meeting took place at a hotel in Northeastern Ohio with 50 business own- ers and 17 embroidery suppliers on hand. This meeting sparked what Cox notes as a vibrant relationship between suppliers and business owners, many of them still in operation to date. Soon after the NNEP's inaugural meeting, Cox sold the equipment, production facility, and customer base of her family business to local NNEP members to fo- cus on "making the NNEP the best possible organiza- tion for embroidery and apparel decoration business owners." Since settling into a renovated office space in Kent, Ohio in 2002, Cox and the NNEP have created mul- tiple resources for both buyers and business owners in the embroidery industry, and offers everything from as- sistance on pricing orders, to production floor advice and even rudimentary bookkeeping tutorials. In addition to these services, Cox notes that the NNEP aims to publish a series of books on apparel decoration and embroidery. Cox projects 2016 to be a busy year for the NEEP. Trade shows already added to the calendar include two Embroidery Mart shows Feb. 19–20, 2016 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio and Aug. 5–6, at the Music City Center in Nash- ville, Tenn. Interested businesses and suppliers can vis- it for more details on the shows and other events scheduled throughout the year. M&R Companies Moves to New Facility GLEN ELLYN, Ill.— Following a previous expansion announcement in August 2015, the M&R Companies announce the official opening of a new headquarters in the greater Chi- cago Area. The opening comes after 30 years of operating in the Glen Ellyn and Niles, Illinois area. Located in Roselle, Illinois with 320,000-square-feet of space, the new headquarters offers up ample space for both design and pro- duction departments. M&R CEO Rich Hoffman esti- mates that the new facility will add roughly 10 percent to its current U.S. workforce. Employee and corporate phone numbers will remain the same while the physical address for the new facility is: The M&R Companies, 440 Medinah Road, Roselle, Ill. 60172-2329

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