Pin Mill saw the writing on the wall for British textile makers many years ago. Set up in 1952, it abandoned manufacturing here in the 1970s and began importing textiles, mainly for bed linen, from Portugal. When that became too expensive in the 1990s, it turned to Bangladesh and Pakistan. ‘We now sell household textiles at prices 30% lower than when I started in the business in 1980,’ says Max Cohen, managing director. Founded by Gordon Cohen and Maurice Sluckis in Manchester, Pin Mill is now in the hands of Gordon’s son Max, Maurice’s son Martin, and Masood Akbani. They have seen sales grow 105% a year from £943,000 in 1997 to £8.1m in 2000, when they employed 14 people. Cohen says this growth comes from Pin Mill’s ability to respond rapidly to fashion changes and because its ultimate customers – discount retailers such as Poundstretcher – have been booming. The Manchester company recently set up a subsidiary in Toronto and has begun exporting to America.
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