Friday, April 22, 2016

WESCO FABRICS CELEBRATES 70 YEARS: 1986-1996, 3 of 10 Blogs

This is our invitation for our 40th anniversary party. The fabric was a beautiful combed cotton print from France.

The 40th party was fun, but bittersweet without Harry Weiss there!

Joline Weiss retired from Wesco Fabrics in October 1986. She was an amazing business woman and truly ahead of her time. Jo was supremely organized, aggressive, and had an uncanny ability to know what would sell to her customers. When she ventured to New York City to source fabrics for her company female buyers were somewhat a rarity in the male dominated world. I heard stories from competitors who would tell their suppliers, "I want what Joline is buying!"

We traveled to New York City in 1987 to attend a celebration of Joline's retirement and contribution in the wholesale fabric industry. L-R: Dick, Marla, Joline, Sharon & Joe Rittgers.

The Home Fashion Products Association presented Joline a lifetime achievement award. Lou Masser was one of our suppliers.

Our warehouse showroom in Denver was redesigned with new colors and displays in the 80's.

Our trade show displays were always really beautiful! Trade shows were important during this time, but no longer.

Ray Lemoine, our West coast Manager, and I work at a trade show on the West Coast.

Steve Beard who now celebrating 50 years as a Wesco Fabrics sales rep, and I take a break after a trade show.

Journalists from Home Textiles Today and others were always calling about conditions in the textile industry. It is fun to look back at prints trends of the past!

I am in the middle of hammering out a deal with Gene Gold, one of our New york City suppliers in the 1980's. Not sure who came out on top of this one!

It was always fun reconnecting with suppliers and competitors alike during the New York Jobber Market.

Louverdrape Vertical Blinds, shown on the right, were made in our Denver plant. These window coverings were a great example of what we made at the time.

We then took on the manufacture of Duette shades from Hunter Douglas in our Denver plant.

December 3, 1991 was an exciting time signing a contract for Marla's project of the Denver Design Center Wesco Fabrics showroom. Becky Lively was our first showroom manager. A few years later we expanded next door into the former Robert Allen space.

Wesco Fabrics from the 1990's. I loved the Euro-Sateen prints which were printed in Holland!

Kathy Greaser sets up some product shots for marketing postcards. Kathy is our National Sales Manager today, celebrating 30 years this year.

In May of 1993 we had a great visit with Louise Alvarado who had managed our Denver warehouse showroom for 25 years. On her left is Ruby VonWald, my assistant, Kay Melnick, Harry's sister and Wesco sales rep, Joline Weiss, and our daughter Stacy Gentry.

Marla with Jerry Gette, who worked in the woven wood department with me in the 70's. He moved to Dallas to run it there, then returned to Wesco Denver as Cut Yardage supervisor until his retirement. 

Gerry Zedja worked for us for many, many years in billing.

Marla has fun with a little display made by our Custom Workroom. It could have been a great dog bed!

An overhead carrier system for moving draperies was installed in the 90's.

Our workroom team fabricates orders for designers around the country. A Swag valance and Austrian shades in the background.

We imported our first container of unique furniture from Bali in 1985. Aubrey Russum, our plant manager, who retired after 40 years checks off the shipment.

Judy Schlachet was my assistant for many years and today wears many hats in the company.

Images: Dick Gentry, Wesco Fabrics

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