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President and CEO AmeriPride Services Inc.
In terms of consumption, how do you perceive the differences between Canadian and the US consumers?
No real difference. Some of the key industries we serve vary by region and the specific products may vary, but in the end, consumers want a quality product at a value price with great service.
How do you think the trade incentives, including North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), help in improving the trade relations with the two countries?
In short, manufacturing is going to countries that have duty agreements with both countries. As a company that operates in both countries, we need a vendor that can service us in both countries.
How important is outsourcing apparel production to developing countries, and do you see production coming back to the US, especially in view of the US government entering several trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?
If cost remains the key factor in sourcing commodity apparel, I don’t see it coming back to the US. However, we have made a move to sourcing more apparel from companies that manufacture closer to home (Mexico, Dominican Republic, Haiti) to help improve speed and flexibility in our supply chain.
Which countries lead in linen and towels production? Do you foresee any shift in linen production in the future?
Today we source linen and towels from China, Pakistan, Cambodia and India. Linen is a fabric and labor driven product and will likely continue to be so in the future.
Do you think that flame resistant apparel and safety wear play a vital role in sustainable textile production? Can you elaborate?
Today, most of our key vendors use US-produced FR fabric. Until we have assurance that an imported FR fabric has been tested properly and the companies have proper insurance, there is too great a risk for us to look at sourcing from other countries.
FR is a key area of growth for our company and will continue along with Oil and Gas industry growth and ever tightening governmental safety regulations.
How do you foresee the prospects of uniform and work wear segment in next five years?
I expect uniforms to continue to be a strong part of the workplace. Industrial, automotive, service industries, restaurants and many others will continue to be strong areas for us as our customers remain focused on their image and brand. FR and safety apparel will continue to be a strong area of growth. In addition, rental uniforms are getting stronger in the health care industry.
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