Terry takes to the ice

Terry Manufacturing shoots and scores with Major League Hockey gear

Terry Manufacturing Co. Inc. (TMC), will be doing more than simply watching from the rafters when the National Hockey League showcases the fourth annual Willie O’Ree All-Star Weekend in Washington, D.C., next month. The Roanoke, Alabama-based apparel manufacturer (No. 59 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list) will have a visible presence after signing a landmark deal giving Terry Manufacturing licensing rights to produce NHL-branded apparel.

TMC’s lucrative NHL license will allow the company to sell wholesale consumer apparel to major retail chains like J.C. Penney and the local retail stores of NHL teams. The screen-printed and embroidered product line includes knit golf shirts, novelty knit shirts, polo shirts, fleece sweat shirts, baseball jerseys and T-shirts. Merchandise will retail from $18 for T-shirts to $120 for higher-end items.

“We believe the product range is the broadest license ever awarded to a minority firm by a major sports league,” says Rudolph Terry, executive vice president and CEO of Terry’s Licensed Apparel Division. Terry says his firm will manufacture the NHL garments primarily in the U.S. at its cut-and-sew plant in Roanoke with a staff of 300. Any items produced overseas will still get the Terry logo at the 70-worker factory in Atlanta.

“Terry Manufacturing’s quick-response capabilities and domestic operation put them in a position to really react to micro-marketing,” says Jim Haskins, NHL Enterprises director of consumer products marketing. Haskins says satisfying regional buying patterns with contemporary styling gives Terry a further leg up and was a key to securing the license. “They manufacture very high-end fabrics and fashion items that speak to what the consumer really is looking for today.”

Owned by brothers Roy and Rudolph Terry, the 1996 Olympics spawned creation of Terry’s Atlanta embroidery, screen-print and distribution facility. The licensed and retail apparel division boasts over 150 licenses for collegiate apparel. “But we feel the NHL license will be a growing part of our business,” says Roy Terry. “Hopefully, other leagues will do similar broad licenses so that we can continue to grow and expand. We expect it to be a significant part of our sales.”

The initial NHL license runs through June 2000. Issued in one-year renewable contracts, the clothing deal is subject to renewal but Terry expects to be on the ice with the NHL for the long term. The company projects the license will add substantially to the company’s over $35.3 million annual gross sales.

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