year in review

Printwear: 2016 Year in Review

Mike Clark is the associate editor for Printwear and Sign & Digital Graphics magazines. Contact him at mclark@nbm.com

It was undoubtedly an eventful year both within the apparel decorating world and in the world at large. As December winds down and 2017 comes into focus, Printwear looks back at some of the news, announcements, and events that took place in our industry throughout the year.

As some companies continued to expand their operations, announcements of new distribution centers and other operations facilities were a commonality. In early 2016, TSC Apparel opened up a new distribution center in the Northfield Stapleton neighborhood of Denver. The 60,000-sq. ft. facility marks the sixth domestic distribution center for the company. Spring of 2016 also saw both expanded facilities and relocations. World Emblem announced a relocation of the company’s Mexico facility, while Next Level Apparel discussed plans for a distribution center in Ashford, Alabama. The building is expected to add 100 jobs in the region. In neighboring Georgia, LAT Apparel opened doors on a new office and distribution center, combining three operations into one building in Ball Ground, Georgia. In Pennsylvania, Hotronix marked a facility expansion in Greene County with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The expanded facility now offers 66,000-sq. ft. of space. On the west coast, AnaJet relocated operations to the Ricoh campus, located in Tustin, California. The relocation marks further integration of the two companies, stemming from Ricoh’s acquisition of Anajet earlier in the year.

In addition to facility expansions and relocations, major shifts in leadership took place across the board for many companies. In early summer of 2016, the board of directors at Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Hanes announced the approval of a leadership succession plan. The plan saw former CEO Richard A. Noll transitioning to executive chairman, while former chief operating officer Gerald Evans transitioned to CEO. Elsewhere, GroupeSTAHL announced four major changes to company leadership in Oct. 2016, including new candidates in commercial sales, vice president, and chief technology officer positions. In late 2016, Fruit of the Loom announced the sudden, unexpected passing of CEO Rick Medlin. Medlin had served as CEO since 2010, and the company recently named Melissa Burgess-Taylor as the new chairwoman and CEO.

As with previous years, acquisitions were also a constant occurrence. Frequent news of American Apparel’s transitions included a recent announcement by Gildan to purchase company assets through a stalking horse bid. Gildan expects to finalize details on this acquisition by early Jan. 2017. Delta Apparel communicated it had acquired COAST Apparel, an ocean lifestyle brand, in Aug. 2016, while GSG unveiled plans to acquire Ohio-based Cincinnati Sign Supplies in mid-May.

Outside of business transactions, the world at large also had effects on the apparel decorating industry. Natural disasters like the heavy rainfall in Louisiana and the June flood in West Virginia caused ripples throughout the country. The events put strains on businesses but equally inspired other companies to take action and help out wherever possible. More recently, various companies around the U.S. participated in local efforts to help out those often left struggling during the holiday season.

Like all other years, Printwear forged ahead with new contributions from columnists in the industry, as well as in-depth pieces focused around shop visits, tips, and Q&As. We also launched our first Shop Tune-Up for an embroidery business, which, prior to 2016, the series had been solely focused on screen printers. Below are some of our most popular pieces that readers viewed this year, including a recap of the 2016 Printwear Shop Tune-Up featuring Erich Campbell and Virginia-based It Takes a Stitch. 

 LAT Apparel’s new headquarters in Georgia; TSC Apparel distribution center in Denver; Fruit of the Loom’s new CEO Melissa Burgess-Taylor; Hanes executive chairman Richard Noll and CEO Gerald Evans; gifts from a holiday benefit drive by Transfer Express; and a T-shirt printed by Affordable Signs Unlimited to help West Virginia flood victims.

Clockwise from left: LAT Apparel’s new headquarters in Georgia; TSC Apparel distribution center in Denver; Fruit of the Loom’s new CEO Melissa Burgess-Taylor; Hanes executive chairman Richard Noll and CEO Gerald Evans; gifts from a holiday benefit drive by Transfer Express; and a T-shirt printed by Affordable Signs Unlimited to help West Virginia flood victims. 

As we look forward to 2017, we’re excited to bring you even more news and educational content. 

Have a healthy and happy New Year! 

  1. By the Numbers: A Visit to Mind's Eye Graphics 
  2. Eight Guidelines to Avoid Copyright Infringement 
  3. The 2016 Printwear Shop Tune-Up: It Takes a Stitch
  4. How to Deal with an Unreliable Supplier
  5. Nine Reasons Why a Heat Transfer Won't Adhere to a Garment
  6. Printwear Exclusive: A Colorado Business Owner Travels the World to Explore Textiles
  7. Photo Gallery: Epson Hosts Fashion Week Event in NYC
  8. Hirsch International Changes Name to Hirsch Solutions
  9. Video: M&R CEO Discusses New Headquarters
  10. Kornit CTO Retires, New CTO Named