Lovely linen from Spring Valley, N.Y.-based Cloth Connection has covered tabletops at events from Donald Trump's high-profile wedding to high-spirited parties at the 2005 Super Bowl. Decking out tables is in owner Michael Davis' blood — his mother launched the business in 1980.
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While customers now clamor for custom coverings for their event tables, a passion for tablecloths hasn't always been the norm. Davis says his parents were hard-pressed to convince clients that linen could come in any color other than white. “Getting customers to upgrade to a color like red was a stretch,” he says. “And people didn't even consider putting a chair cover on a chair.” Now Davis, who joined the company in 1994, routinely fills orders for exotic table covers. “We get several requests a week to locate exotic fabrics from around the world to use in all aspects of table design,” he explains. “We constantly bring in new inventory for a fresh look.”
That Cloth Connection is still family-owned not only sets the company apart, Davis believes, but keeps it thriving. A philosophy inherited from his parents drives his service-oriented approach with clients. “Customers want to feel that they have a whole vendor team behind them for any sudden changes in the event planning process,” he says. “As my parents used to say, ‘Once the event curtain goes up, there is no tomorrow,’” meaning that events must go on even if vendors don't deliver. Consequently, Cloth Connection employees are adept at adapting and working on the fly, he says with pride.
Davis works to keep the familial feel of the company. “I am proud that I was able to continue the momentum of a well-run but smaller family operation to a nationwide company and still hold on to the same values,” he says.
The speed of the event industry keeps Davis sharp. “It used to be that it was standard to reserve your linen 30 days in advance,” he says. But “Now it is common that we get 30 hours to react.” To keep up, Davis relies on trusted employees — “We have some very qualified individuals that understand this fast-paced environment,” he explains. Another source of skilled assistance? This son doesn't hesitate to take advice from his folks, his mentors in the linen industry. “It is great to grab my parents' advice on new issues that arise,” Davis says. He shares his own suggestion with industry newcomers: “Gather as much information as you can before making any decision,” he explains. “Once you have this information, trust your instincts.”
Call Cloth Connection at 845/426-3500 or visit www.clothconnection.com.