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January 2005
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National News Items - January 2005

Biblical Theme Uniforms Create Excitement with Healthcare Professionals

Round Rock, TX, December 1, 2004 (PRWEB) -- The introduction of Scripture Scrubs™ medical uniform tops at the Global Health Missions Conference created excitement among medical professionals. Conference attendees, primarily doctors, nurses, dentists and medical missionaries were enthusiastic about the new faith-based uniforms. The company, founded in 2003 by a registered nurse and her sister-in-law /artist as a result of divine inspiration, offers the only medical uniform tops with a Biblical theme.

“The response to Scripture Scrubs has been overwhelming,” said founding partner, Barbara Payne, R.N. Studies have proven that there is a definite connection between faith, prayer and the impact on health-related decisions and behaviors, putting healthcare professionals in a unique position to encourage spiritual as well as physical healing. When a doctor, nurse, dentist or other medical professionals wear one of these tops, they are quietly sharing their faith with others, opening the door for spiritual discussion - a practice that some say is questionable. The company has encountered little opposition to the idea with the exception of an advocacy group who strongly suggests that one’s religious beliefs be checked at the door and not factored into their professional life. Scripture Scrubs customers look at the uniforms as a way to offer hope and encouragement to patients by the positive message contained on the tops.

Two designs are currently available. “Hope in the Lord” features the classic dove and rainbow motif in bright, vibrant colors with a blue-washed background. “Reaping and Sowing” represents a garden theme in a cheerful array of colors with a soft yellow background.

For additional information, visit www.scripturescrubs.com



Fort Worth Police Say De-countrified Uniforms Just Don't Fit Right

 Ft. Worth, TX, December 4, 2004 (Dallas Morning News, as reported by Jeff Mosier) - Some Fort Worth police officers fear that the city's Western heritage has taken a swift kick in the pants.

Starting last month, the city's uniformed officers swapped their navy blue boot-cut, Western-style pants for a more traditional type of slacks. Police officials said the change was needed to make officers look more professional.

But the move has left some of Cowtown's finest grumbling. Several uniformed officers declined to comment, but the head of the city's police union said many in his group are not happy.

"People are resistant to change to begin with, and this is part of the Western heritage that our community has embraced," said Officer Lee Jackson, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

Lt. Abdul Pridgen, a police spokesman, said Police Chief Ralph Mendoza simply wanted a sharper look.

"The chief felt that with a more professional appearance, we'd be more likely to get compliance from citizens," Lt. Pridgen said.

But City Council member Jim Lane , who has lived in Fort Worth for more than 45 years, said Western wear is part of the personality of the city, where suits and ties often accompany boots and Stetson hats. He believes Fort Worth residents understand and appreciate that style.

"They are very comfortable with, and have always been very accustomed to, seeing their officers with a western cut on their uniforms," Mr. Lane said.

Lt. Pridgen said that the change was recommended this year by a committee of police employees and that Chief Mendoza approved it despite efforts by the police association to keep the old style. The new uniform requirement took effect Nov. 1.



Cintas Corporation Reports Growth in Second Quarter Fiscal 2005 Revenue and Earnings

Cincinnati , OH , December 16, 2004 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Cintas Corporation today reported revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2005 of $757 million, an 8 percent increase from last year's $701 million. The company also reported a 6 percent increase in net income of $73.6 million compared to $69.7 million last year. After-tax margins were 9.7 percent of revenue. Earnings per diluted share of $.43 increased 8 percent from last year's $.40 per diluted share.

Scott D. Farmer, Chief Executive Officer of Cintas, stated, "On behalf of our Cintas employee-partners, I am pleased to report continued growth in revenue and profits this quarter. Our Rental Revenue increased over 6 percent while Other Services Revenue grew over 13 percent compared to the previous year. Over the past 6 quarters, we have seen continued momentum in the organic growth in Rental Revenue, which has now reached 6 percent for the current quarter."

Mr. Farmer continued, "We serve a broad and diverse group of customers who use many of our services, such as our uniform rental and sales services, entrance mats, restroom supply and hygiene services, first aid and safety products or document management services. We believe our top line growth and bottom line profits will continue to strengthen as U.S. employment strengthens and customers rely on Cintas for one or more of our services."

For the six months ended November, revenue of $1.5 billion increased 9 percent compared to $1.38 billion, while earnings per share rose 10 percent from $.77 per diluted share to $.85 per diluted share. Mr. Farmer commented, "We continue to build our sales staff to take advantage of growth opportunities throughout our Company. In addition, we are actively identifying and making acquisitions in order to grow our business and gain market share."

The Company's balance sheet continues to strengthen. Debt to total capitalization was 18.8 percent as of November 30, 2004 , versus 22.1 percent last year. Cash and marketable securities climbed to $356 million as of November 30, 2004 , compared to $196 million last year. Total shareholders' equity has now reached $2.1 billion.

Mr. Farmer continued, "We are reiterating our guidance for fiscal 2005, which was communicated with our fiscal 2004 results. We expect revenue for fiscal 2005 in the range of $3.0 billion to $3.2 billion, with full year earnings per share (diluted) in the range of $1.70 to $1.80, assuming a continued improvement in the economy."

Headquartered in Cincinnati , Ohio , Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types throughout North America . Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, and first aid and safety products and services for over 550,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a Nasdaq-100 company and component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. The Company has achieved 35 consecutive years of growth in sales and earnings, to date.



Work 'N Gear Unveils New Vision and Approach to Hard Working Apparel and Footwear

Weymouth, MA, December 9, 2004 (Business Wire) -- Work 'N Gear today unveiled plans for the transformation of its 20-year-old brand with new leadership, product offerings, store concepts and advertising initiatives. As part of that vision, today's Work 'N Gear is a destination for shoppers seeking authentic, rugged clothes made for the real working world.

Work 'N Gear now offers the region's largest selection of apparel and footwear designed for use on the jobsite, in the medical environment, the food service industry, at home, or at play. Specializing in work wear with durability and style, Work 'N Gear carries the brands people trust including Carhartt, Dickies, Cherokee, Chippewa, Helly Hansen and Timberland Pro. The company will also continue to strengthen its business-to-business offering, working closely with local, regional, and national organizations that need personalized uniforms and work wear in industries such as hospitality, transportation, construction and manufacturing, among others.

The company's CEO and President, Anthony DiPaolo, has assembled an executive team that is poised to expand the existing retail entity into a national brand within the $12 billion work wear apparel and footwear industry. "Our new vision and flagship retail store mark significant milestones as we demonstrate our new direction while affirming a commitment to our customers and reinforcing the stature of Work 'N Gear as the work wear apparel retailer," DiPaolo noted. "Offering best-in-class quality merchandise and service, Work 'N Gear is a destination for shoppers seeking on-the-job clothing and those who are looking for stylish comfort to fit their lifestyle."

As part of the rebranding initiative, a flagship retail store, located in Dedham, MA, has been designed to reflect the company's new attitude and extensive expertise in the market for its customers--an easy to shop, high service level environment offering new brands such as Woolrich and Merrell, new merchandise categories like women's work wear, and brand savvy sales associates. A new logo and brand personality have been developed and large images of the products are portrayed throughout the store.

In an effort to ensure proper execution of the expansion, DiPaolo attracted equity investors Bain Capital Ventures and Walnut Investment Partners, an entity of The Walnut Group. "We were very impressed with Tony's commitment, vision and expertise in the work apparel industry and we are excited to be part of his company's revitalization," said Jeffrey Schwartz, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures. "We are looking forward to partnering with such a seasoned executive team in helping Work 'N Gear become the premier destination for work wear apparel and footwear."

Headquartered in Weymouth , Massachusetts , Work 'N Gear is the largest U.S. retail chain specializing in the $12 billion work wear apparel and footwear industry. The new Work 'N Gear is the work apparel and footwear headquarters for consumers as well as businesses. The retailer's hardworking fashion is designed for use on the job site, in the medical environment, the food service industry, at home or at play.

Work 'N Gear specializes in branded work wear with durability and style and operates more than 65 retail stores throughout the Northeast and Midwest . For a listing of store locations, visit www.workngear.com.



Chef Direct Announces Debut of Branded Cooling Shirts Worn Under Chef And Kitchen Apparel

Schenectady , NY , December, 2004 (Company Release) – Under Chef is the first item of it’s type, produced exclusively for the Professional Chef and Kitchen staff.

Made from 100% micro-fiber moisture wicking polyester TempaDry materials, UnderChef is designed to wick away the perspiration and wetness from the body and regulate the body’s temperature. This creates a layer of comfort underneath the chef’s apparel, shielding them from high kitchen temperatures.

Under Chef will offer initially several variations including a short and long sleeve mock turtle neck version, a standard collar short and long sleeve version and a sleeveless (muscle shirt) version. All available in white and black, from X-small through 3XL sizes.

Prices on the professional 100% moisture wicking start at $16.95.

A less expensive “cotton” garment alternative is also available. Still processing moisture management properties, this ribbed form- fitting shirt is made in both male and female sizes and has short and long sleeve options and works great for the servers or wait staff as either an undergarment or actual casual server shirt. Available in White and Black from size Small to XXL.

For more information, visit www.chefdirect.com or call 1-800-789-CHEF.



Soleil Uniforms Introduces New 2005 Uniform Collection

 Boca Raton, FL, December 6, 2004 (Company Release) -- Soleil Uniforms, LLC, a leading producer of ready-to-wear uniforms for spa, salon, hospitality and medical professionals, is introducing their new 2005 Uniform Collection. The new collection combines the art of fashion with function for demanding work environments.

Included in the collection for men and women are lab coats, jackets, dresses, pants, skirts and aprons that are manufactured to withstand tough treatment while projecting professionalism in the workplace. With a radically new approach, Soleil Uniforms is also educating their clients on the form and function of using high-end uniforms in their operations. For 2005, Soleil Uniforms delivers refined uniforms unprecedented in the industry. The new collection reflects the company's attention to customer needs including easy care, water, stain and soil resistant fabrics that come in a choice of colors, integrated pleats, generous pockets, extended sizes and designer touches that maximize comfort and durability.

High quality, washable fabrics are used that retain the shape and the original crisp, professional look of each uniform even after multiple washings. Custom colors and custom designs are also available. "We take pride in our commitment to offer first class uniforms that feature an optimal blend of fashion, quality, easy care and comfort," according to Ellen Rowley, marketing director. "Our clients are exacting and know that we can deliver. We believe our high quality uniforms help gain competitive edge by enhancing the professional image of the workplace."

Soleil Uniforms, LLC is dedicated to producing high quality uniforms that enable professional clients to enhance their operations and increase customer retention. The company's top designer-styled uniforms are sought by some of the world's most distinguished spa, salon, hospitality and medical professionals. Whether custom designed or standard stock item, each article emphasizes style, comfort, durability and high quality.

For further information, visit www.soleiluniforms.com or contact Ellen Rowley, (866) 533-7446.



Stockton Store Preparing for New Sheriff's Uniforms

San Joaquin , CA , December 18, 2004 (San Joaquin News, as reported by Les Mahler) -- Yolanda George, owner of Weber Point Uniforms, will probably have a black new year.

That's because George is expecting an order from the county sheriff's department for new black uniforms for deputy sheriffs, correctional officers, captains, lieutenants, sergeants and even Sheriff Baxter Dunn himself.

County law enforcement personnel voted on the new uniforms over the past few months, with the black uniforms winning out over the traditional green and tan.

Although she hasn't heard from Dunn yet, George said the Reading, Pa.-based manufacturer, Elbeco, has already received an e-mail from Dunn for the uniforms.

While the vote was based on style and what other sheriff departments are doing in other parts of the state, according to Steve Walker, president of the Deputy Sheriffs Association, it's also based on less cost.

Walker , in an earlier interview, said other sheriff deputy units in Sacramento , Yolo and Calaveras counties already have the black uniforms.

"It's the standard in the industry," he said. But George said the other motivation is that the new uniforms are less expensive, although she couldn't quote a price.

George said the reason for the price reduction is the fabric blend, which she is new polyester blend that she called nano-dry.

The nano-dry "wicks any moisture from the uniform, especially around the under arms," she said.

Besides the pants and shirts, deputies are also expected to order new hats along with a jacket to match, George said.

The new hats, which she said are called rider hats, are similar to what the California Highway Patrol now wears. Deputies now wear campaign or cowboy-style hats, she said.

And each deputy usually orders about two uniforms, she said. But while deputies and correctional officers are thrilled with the new look, deputies providing security at the county's courthouses aren't jumping for joy at the change.

One deputy at the Stockton courthouse who didn't want his name used said the complaints center around the cost of new uniforms.

Although deputies and correctional officers have a uniform allowance, the courthouse deputy said most courthouse deputies are part time and therefore don't have the same uniform allowance.

George said the new uniforms are expected to arrive in March so deputies and correctional officers can start wearing them in April.


Textile Firms Plan for Quota-Free World by Focusing on Speed, Know-how

December 19, 2004 (MSNBC Online, as reported by Mark Tosczak) - Triad textile companies are hoping that technological advantage and new foreign markets will help them withstand an expected surge of Chinese imports in 2005.

For most of last year, U.S. textile executives have been predicting that cheaper Chinese products, from yarn and fabric to finished clothing and furniture textiles, will shut down U.S. plants and possibly send tens of thousands of additional workers to unemployment lines.

In Guilford , Forsyth and Alamance counties alone, some 12,000 textile mill jobs could be at stake.

But while textile executives publicly have been lobbying Washington and the World Trade Organization for relief with their doom-and-gloom forecasts, they've also been working on plans for competing against cheaper Chinese goods, or deciding whether that's even a strategy worth attempting.

"There's no way to compete with China ," said Jim Copland, chairman of Burlington 's Copland Industries, which churns out millions of yards of fabric used in the home furnishings industry every month. "Anything that they can do, you've just got to get away from it."

The National Council of Textile Organizations, a trade group lobbying for protection from Chinese imports, released statistics in December showing that Chinese-made garments are priced dramatically below U.S. goods, as well as garments made in other countries.

Based on 2003 data, China 's average export price for trousers, underwear, woven shirts and knit shirts was $1.84, 76 percent less than the $7.63-per-garment price for U.S.-made clothes.

Copland, though, plans on trying to compete. In fact, many textile companies seem to be taking advice from the legendary Chinese strategy manual "The Art of War," by Sun Tzu, which stresses attacking where the enemy is weakest.

"You've got to look under every rock and behind every door and turn every page to find something that has got some kind of natural barrier to their imports," Copland said. "You've got to find things that they have difficulty in doing."

Copland, like many textile executives, is loath to talk in detail about what markets he thinks his company can successfully compete for. Another big Burlington fabric maker, Glen Raven, has its sights set on technologically sophisticated products that can't be easily duplicated.

"We don't want to be in the T-shirt business," said Glen Raven Inc. CEO Allen E. Gant Jr. "We can't survive on T-shirts." Glen Raven, for instance, is developing fabrics that change color as the temperature changes. The company is also focusing on fabrics for automobile interiors, boat sails and medical devices, among other uses.

Looking abroad

U.S. textile companies aren't content to just hone their native advantages, though. They're also looking abroad for new customers and new factories, in some cases even forming joint ventures in China .

International Textile Group, the company formed earlier this year by financier Wilbur Ross when he combined Burlington Industries and Cone Mills, announced Dec. 10 that it's investing $20 million in dyeing and finishing plant, as well as a distribution center, in Hagzhou, China.

"From Burlington (WorldWide's) standpoint, we have had an office in Hong Kong for a couple of years working with mill partners in that region," said Delores Sides, ITG's director of corporate communication.

ITG's strategy, Sides said, is to build two platforms: North American mills, which can supply customers who have specialty needs or want the quicker turn-around time that domestic plants provide, and international mills to supply customers in other parts of the world, or who want the cost advantages that foreign suppliers offer.

U.S. exports on the rise

U.S. fabric and yarn makers have also increased their exports to Central America . Nations such as Honduras and Guatemala are home to garment factories that supply U.S. apparel companies, such as VF Corp. and Sara Lee Branded Apparel.

Ameritex Yarn LLC, a Burlington company, has grown its international business from about 5 percent of total sales four years ago to more than 20 percent now, said Rick Bullard, the company's president and CEO.

U.S. fabric makers, too, are counting in part on customers, such as some clothing retailers, that demand fast delivery times. That combination of U.S. fabric suppliers and Central American apparel makers might be able to compete with China 's integrated textile and apparel industry, which has to overcome longer shipping times, said Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Inc., a cotton industry trade group.

According to federal trade data, U.S. textile exports for the 12 months ending Oct. 31 were up 10.5 percent over the same period a year earlier, with Mexico and Central American countries among the top destinations for those goods. Even U.S. textile exports to China are up about 20 percent for that period.

Among other things, rapidly industrializing China is a potential growth market for industrial fabrics, an area many observers say U.S. companies are better at producing than mills in low-wage countries such as China .

Industry's outlook

Despite the bright spots, though, there's broad agreement that textile companies face a new reality this year.

"If you've got a company that hasn't thought this out, probably in the last couple of years, it's probably too late for them," Worsham said.

Observers expect the number of Triad textile jobs will continue to decline as fiercer competition from overseas eats into American firms' markets. But the U.S. textile industry won't disappear. Surviving companies will have to learn to adopt new products and new technologies faster.

Nonetheless, technical advances will be the key to U.S. firms' long-term survival, Worsham said.

"Many of these technologies originate in the United States , and U.S. companies can expect to be able to access these and deploy these (first)," he said. "It's the basis on which they can be survivors."



Milliken StainSmart Fabrics Are the Smart Choice for School Uniforms

SPARTANBURG, SC, December 8, 2004 (Business Wire) -- Milliken & Company, one of the world's largest privately-held textile and chemical manufacturers, today announced that Fabian Couture Group International, a leader within the formal wear industry in both the United States and Canada, has chosen Milliken's StainSmart fabrics for their polyester tuxedo line, First Nighter Formal Wear Collection. This specific tuxedo line is designed for school and formal band and choir uniforms, due to its easy-care and superior stain repel-and-release capabilities.

StainSmart is a major break through for the school uniform market because it provides the option of machine washing the uniforms rather than dry cleaning, which tends to be expensive.

"School uniforms tend to be a costly and high-maintenance investment for schools and parents alike, due to the amount of wear and stains that occur during use," said Daniel Cohen, of Fabian Couture Group. "Students are very hard on their uniforms, and a stain repel-and-release feature is a natural fit for school and formal band and choir uniforms. StainSmart provides an easy-care solution that both parents and school personnel will greatly appreciate."

Independent testing verifies that StainSmart currently outperforms other stain-protection methods available today.

"In a head-to-head comparison of stain repellent products in the apparel market, Clothes Care Research Center (CCRC), an alliance of leading manufacturers and research laboratories, dedicated to improving home clothing care, found that StainSmart outperformed leading repellent technologies for water and oil repellency," said Dr. Elizabeth P. Easter, board member of CCRC and director of the University of Kentucky's Textile Testing Laboratory. "StainSmart also delivered unsurpassed soil release performance on tough stains, such as oil, and its color retention performance was significantly better than fabrics of comparable fiber types."

"Milliken understands that easy-care is a top priority for the school uniform market," said Brenda Burris Drake, merchandising director of woven fabrics for Milliken. "We're thrilled that Fabian Couture Group recognizes StainSmart's promise for durable easy-to-care-for professional fabrics that withstand stains."

Milliken's StainSmart provides the "best of both worlds" in a patent-pending stain-protection technology. The "repel" function allows for most liquid-based spills to bead up and be wiped off, thereby preventing them from staining the fabric. The "release" function works on tough, ground-in stains that penetrate fabric, such as corn oil or cola, by allowing these stains to wash out during normal laundering or cleaning.

New StainSmart school and formal wear uniforms are available now and can be found in the 2005 Fabian Couture Group International catalog, and will be available at retailers in early 2005.

StainSmart is now available in a wide range of high-quality, durable fabric types from leading fabric converters and manufacturers for the high-performance active apparel; casual menswear and womenswear; workwear; military, medical and school uniforms; hospitality; and healthcare and military lodging markets. StainSmart technology is also available for custom fabric development from Milliken in a variety of uses and markets.

For more information on Milliken's innovative fabrics, including StainSmart, please visit Milliken's company website at www.milliken.com or www.stainsmart.com . For StainSmart sales information, call 864-503-1655.


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