Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, Sunbury Textile Mills Celebrate 20 Years of Sunbrella-Branded Collections, Weaving Partnership

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    Client News

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    May 04, 2014

Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, Sunbury Textile Mills Celebrate 20 Years of Sunbrella-Branded Collections, Weaving Partnership



Client News

Glen Raven Custom Fabrics and Sunbury Textile Mills this month will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their business partnership, offering complementary weaving capabilities of Sunbrella-branded fabrics for the decorative jobber, casual and residential furniture markets. Established in 1994, the partnership combined the performance heritage of the Sunbrella brand with Sunbury’s reputation for high-end design, leading to the beginning of a new chapter for both companies.

As Glen Raven looked to expand its upholstery fabric business it was Sunbury’s relationships with companies such as Kravet and Donghia that allowed the Sunbrella brand to initially access decorative jobber markets. The partnership continues to flourish today, with both Sunbury and Glen Raven providing Sunbrella to all of the leading high-end jobbers and manufacturers.

“The relationship and trust between our companies and our collective customers have allowed us to adapt and thrive even as we have moved into the 21st century with new business models and the changing economy,” said David Swers, president, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics.

The companies were introduced by Randy Trull, a longtime design consultant for Glen Raven and Mark Grigalunas, who at the time was design director for Sunbury, both of whom saw the potential for a long-term partnership.

“We laugh about it now because when we first presented the ideas to our respective companies, everyone thought we were crazy; both the design and the price of the fabric were a complete departure from what people were used to seeing,” said Grigalunas, now senior vice president of design at Sunbury. “Then we sold the fabric through to our first customer and it became a best seller. The rest of the market followed.”

The design teams at Glen Raven and Sunbury work independently, but from a common yarn palette that allows them to create complementary fabrics. The teams work closely together to continually elevate the aesthetic of Sunbrella fabric designs.

“One of the biggest benefits of this partnership is the relationship between our design teams as they consider new colors and yarn constructions and design what is best for the Sunbrella brand,” said  Greg Rosendale, market manager, residential furniture fabrics for Glen Raven. “Those collaborative sessions have led to unparalleled product development from both companies.”  

Today Sunbury is the exclusive decorative jobber weaving partner for Sunbrella fabrics. In addition to their shared business synergies, the companies acknowledge that the growing consumer interest in performance fabrics at the high end has been a factor in their ongoing success.

“The Sunbrella name is one of the strongest branded names I’ve ever known, and for it to be backed up by such proven performance is amazing,” said Hank Truslow, president, Sunbury Textile Mills. “When people realize how diverse the product categories of the Sunbrella brand have become, they are simply amazed.”

The anniversary will be celebrated through a design competition with the Textile Design program at Philadelphia University. Working with the school faculty, the two companies challenged students at the beginning of the spring semester to imagine the future of Sunbrella fabrics – the next 20 years – and submit designs that will be judged on a number of criteria: color, pattern, appropriate scale, creative materials, appropriate hand, technical execution, appropriate end use, originality and innovation.

Judging for the contest will take place at the school on May 6 with judges from the industry including Greyson Kirby, director of merchandising and product development at Holly Hunt, Glen Raven Design Consultant Sherri Donghia and Steve Elton, chief brand officer at Brown Jordan. The grand prize winner will attend Showtime Fabric Fair in High Point, tour the new Burlington yarn manufacturing facility, and interview with the Sunbrella design team. The contest exposes students to two industry leaders and gives them insight into the business side of textile design.

“Our relationship is open and transparent at any given point in time – during product development, manufacturing – and that is a remarkable accomplishment for two privately owned companies,” Truslow said. “We don’t see an end in sight. Our business continues to grow at an exponential rate.”

The companies will continue to commemorate the anniversary throughout the year and are committed to the future of their partnership, extoling the freedom each allows the other as one of the reasons for their continued success.

“We don’t do many partnerships, but the ones we get into are very important to us,” Swers added. “We enter into them knowing we will be in business together for a long time. The next 20 years are just as important to us; we are just getting started.”


About Sunbrella Fabrics
Introduced in 1961, Sunbrella revolutionized the way the world thinks about how beautiful fabrics look, feel and perform. The Sunbrella brand is the leading premium fabric choice for awning, marine and furniture manufacturers, offering legendary durability, fade resistance and ease of cleaning.

Upholstery fabrics from Sunbrella are continually advancing in design sophistication and comfort, resulting in applications both outside and inside the home for coordinated décor. Sunbrella fabrics have been certified by GreenGuard, an international standard, for contributing to indoor air quality.

Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured and marketed by Glen Raven, a 134-year-old family-owned company based in North Carolina with operations worldwide. For more information on the Sunbrella brand, including fabric resources, visit www.sunbrella.com.

About Sunbury Textile Mills
Sunbury Textile Mills was founded in 1954. It was purchased from the Susquehanna Silk Mills, a silk tie manufacturer which built the original manufacturing complex in 1890. A more modern facility was erected in 1970, housing today’s modern looms and manufacturing equipment while also keeping the original saw-tooth roof, an architectural signature from the turn of the century. Our sales and creative design offices are located in a historic, cast iron building dating back to 1861 in the vibrant neighborhood of SoHo in New York City.

Sunbury has always operated at the present manufacturing site in Sunbury, Pennsylvania and is one of the only mills of its type that continues to manufacture 100% of its products in the United States of America. In 2004 Sunbury Textile Mills became an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company and is owned 100% for the benefit of all the employees’ retirements. The company employs multigenerational families that carry on the art of weaving with an average tenure of 20 years of design and weaving expertise.

Sunbury boasts a reputation for excellence in product quality, superior design and unsurpassed levels of customer service as a market leader in the design and manufacture of decorative jacquard fabrics for the world market.