|Keeping up with state-of-the-art safety apparel and work wear
Alaska Textiles innovative and efficient business supplies safety
clothing, uniforms and other industrial textile products
heightened awareness of safety coupled with occupational safety regulations
has driven a need for specialized work apparel in many industrial
situations. In the Alaska oil industry, for example, clothing may
have to protect workers from flash fire exposure, electric arc hazards
and from the severe Arctic climate.
--Alaska Textiles Inc. excels in the
efficient delivery of both customized and off-the-shelf apparel and
linens for most industrial applications. As well as supplying flame
and weather resistant garments, the company can add company logos
or other embellishments to work wear, uniforms and promotional goods.
--The companys location in Alaska
has proved to be a major benefit in developing an expertise in garments
for cold-weather use. And, with its 8,000 square foot warehouse, the
company can carry a large stock of items for rapid response to customer
--We offer a level of service thats
unmatched by anyone our follow-throughs, our deliveries, and
our ability to fulfil on what our offer is, Clif Burnette, vice
president of Alaska Textiles, said. We offer flame-resistant
safety garments... we have them right here in stock we will
put a name on it, put a company logo on it we can do all that
right here in house.
Seamstresses and emboidery operators Nicy Haboc and Belen Salazar
operating the Alaska Textiles emboidery machines.
--As well as conventional work clothes,
the company supplies Arctic parkas, bomber jackets and Arctic bibs
for use on the North Slope.
of this Arctic gear currently comes from Canada. However, Alaska Textiles
is the sole distributor for a new brand that will soon go into production
in the United States.
--Were working with a brand
called Korbana and to my knowledge Korbana is the only flame-resistant
Arctic gear that meets the specifications for the North Slope thats
made in the U.S.A., Burnette said.
working with the customer and the manufacturer Alaska Textiles came
up with the required design.
--Were actually putting other
people into that program now, Burnette said. ... some
of the other contractors are coming up and saying thats
a great idea.
Embroidery, promotional goods and employee
--Alaska Textiles can embroider logos,
patches or names onto garments or other textile products. The company
also does screen printing on fabrics.
--Experienced seamstresses operate embroidery
machines and do garment alterations.
--We have two, sometimes three,
seamstresses that are consistently working, Burnette said.
We run 14 hour shifts a day and even longer during the holidays, to
meet our promises its very important that we deliver
on what we promise.
--Four years ago the company realized
that it could use its embroidery and screen printing capabilities
to produce a variety of promotional material, including customized
bags, hats and shirts. These promotional materials have become a significant
line of business for the company.
--In a new twist on this particular line
of business Alaska Textiles has introduced its Valued Customer
Program. In this program Alaska Textiles provides a customer
with a web page for the customers internal employee store. Alaska
Textiles displays on the web page a large selection of products carrying
the customers logo.
--Its been a great success
for us... and its a great program for a company, Burnette
International business and the Internet
--Alaska Textiles sells products to locations
as diverse as Scotland, Russia, China and Aruba. Burnette expects
this international business to increase, especially with the proximity
of the FedEx hub in Anchorage goods can be shipped quickly
and easily to many parts of the world.
--The Internet is proving a particularly
valuable source of business outside Alaska.
--Our web site is getting international
hits daily and were shipping product to some parts of China
right now, Burnette said. Were known as a cold weather
work wear source if its going to work on Alaskas
North Slope, its going to work anywhere.
--With an expanding business, Burnette
sees a bright future.
--Were an Alaska company,
were going to continue to focus on Alaska, but thats not
where were going to stop, Burnette said. Our customers...
demand a level of service that they havent seen out there from
anyone, and we deliver!
Randy Siebert, sales manager, Clif Burnette, executive vice president
and RJ Mills, operation manager, in the Alaska Textiles promotional
|A part of
--Alaska Textiles started out in 1981
as a division of Alaska Cleaners, an Anchorage-based company dating
back to the 1940s.
--Alaska Cleaners had developed a business
in which the company rented out uniforms and linens to the hotel and
hospitality industry. However, in the late 1970s the company owners
noticed that customers were starting to purchase textile products
rather than lease them. And so Alaska Cleaners spawned off a clothing
and linen sales business that became Alaska Textiles.
--Since then, Alaska Textiles has continued
its original business of selling goods to hotels and restaurants.
However, opportunities in the oil industry and other business sectors
have enabled the company to expand its customer base and its line
--Although we started out with linens
for places like local hotels, our biggest market now for those products
is the camps on the North Slope, Burnette said.
--Our chef wear and aprons that
we sell to local restaurants also sell very well to the kitchens on
the slope, Burnette said.
Flame-resistant safety apparel and work wear
--In the early 1990s Alaska textiles
started selling flame resistant safety apparel and work wear
sales of these types of product really accelerated in the mid-90s
and now represent a major part of the companys business.
--Customers include many Alaska city
fire departments as well as most of the contractors on the North Slope.
--Customers will come into our
showroom we fit them from our sizing kits ... if there is customization
needed well do that, too, RJ Mills, Alaska Textiles
operations manager, said.
Alaska textiles has been working to develop the Korbana brand for
several years, local production of the garments has so far proved
elusive the Alaska industrial infrastructure isnt able
to support this type of manufacturing operation.
--Who knows, some day we may be
able to have them made in Alaska ... our owner Dana Martens likes
challenges, Burnette said.
--Meantime, the Korbana brand is demonstrating
its commitment to Alaska by donating 1 percent of all of its sales
proceeds to Alaska youth charities.
Developing new garments
--Alaska Textiles works with manufacturers
to spearhead new designs for garments and fabrics.
--Were consistently looking
at ways to reduce our costs and offer the same quality, Burnette
said. We build prototype (garments) and put them on the customers
(the customers) wear test them and tell us what they think.
--If the customers like a new design,
Alaska Textiles will work with one of its manufacturers on what production
changes are needed and ask the manufacturer to test the new garment
its critical that the garment meets the required safety
--We are the Alaskan supplier who
brings cutting-edge technology in safety apparel to the industry.
The product we deliver ultimately provides the best combination of
protection, comfort and value, said Randy Siebert, sales manager
of Alaska Textiles.
--Alaska Textiles can also arrange the
manufacture of custom designs for individual customers.
--We had a customer who wanted
to put kneepads in
their coveralls, Burnette said, so we had to design a
coverall that would be able to fit the kneepads and still meet the
|Written and Photographed by Alan Bailey.