Company Cameo

TSG Finishing

April 5, 2012

1400 Welsh Road North Wales, PA 19454 Phone: 215-628-2000 Fax: 215-641-1325

Contract service and converting specialist TSG Finishing got its start in 1901 in Baltimore, MD servicing the apparel industry by preshrinking, steaming and inspecting wool fabric for men’s suiting. TSG was founded by Jacob Levy, an Austrian immigrant, as Levy’s International Water Shrinking and Drying Company.

In 1912, the company moved to center city Philadelphia and remained in center city until 1979 when it moved to a Philadelphia suburb.

“What’s interesting is 111 years later, we are still shrinking fabrics for men’s clothing—only now we are doing it for the defense department’s officers’ uniforms,”explains CEO Jack Rosenstein, Jacob Levy’s, great grandson.

Of course, a lot has changed during the last century or so. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, TSG  established plants in and around Hickory, NC to be closer to the woven and nonwoven businesses it was targeting. Currently, the company operates four manufacturing sites near Hickory in addition to its Pennsylvania site, which will be closed later this year.

In terms of technology, TSG has evolved into one of the largest and most diverse fabric finishers in the US with capabilities including chemical and mechanical finishes. While its core business continues to be wovens, the company is heavily involved in a number of nonwoven markets including medical, filtration, construction, automotive, military and even the crafts market.

“We are able to offer a unique combination of finishes,” director of sales Bud Styles adds. “The myriad types of equipment and expertise allows us to help our customers use the best technology to meet their goals.”

TSG entered nonwovens about 15 years ago through the medical market when it saw a need for treatment of medical products with the unique combination of finishes it possessed, Styles says. The company quickly expanded into a number of nonwovens-related application areas.

Executives attribute a lot of the company’s success to discretion. While many of its competitors tout that they have open access to their facilities, TSG often operates under nondisclosure agreements and limits access to the manufacturing facilities due to the sensitive nature of many of its projects.

“Being a commission finisher, we are privy to a lot of our customers new products and development new samples,”  Rosenstein says.  “We take that very seriously and want our customers to feel free to develop products without risk of cross development.”To further aid in this secrecy, TSG refrains from patenting any of its technologies. “The concern is that once we patent something, it’s out there for everyone to see,” Rosenstein explains.

Moving forward, TSG will focus on specialty markets and applications working with nonwoven manufacturers in helping them add value to their products. The company will do this from a streamlined operation in Hickory, NC following the closure of its Pennsylvania site later this summer. The decision to center all of its operations in North Carolina reportedly came from a need to improve its turnaround time and make its products more consistent.

Executives expect the consolidation will allow TSG to be more efficient and productive. “What we lose from one location, we will be able to gain and expand in the other locations,” says Styles, affirming that the company will continue to be on the cutting edge of innovation within the nonwovens industry.

“The consolidation will coordinate efforts within our organization and ensure that we meet our customer demands at the highest level of efficiency and flexibility to which our customers have become accustomed over the years.” adds Jeffrey Goldman, president, COO, and also great grandson of Levy. “This consolidation will also allow us to utilize our significant assets and
technology over a broader customer base and serve a wider variety of industries more efficiently because our plants will be located in closer geographic proximity to one another.”

Moving forward, TSG expects much of its growth to come in nonwovens as roll goods makers discover how TSG’s technologies can enhance customers’ products.  Rosenstein and Goldman conclude,  “Our goal at TSG today is the same as it was in 1901, to help our customers achieve
their goals using the best possible service we can offer.  We are sure our great grandfather would be proud we are carrying on his ideals.”