Dixie Group to buy California carpet maker

Dixie Group to buy California carpet maker

March 15th, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Donna Shook removes used spools of thread from the creeling area at the Dixie Group carpet plant in Eton, Ga., in this file photo.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

In its biggest carpet acquisition in more than a decade, the Dixie Group, Inc. announced Friday it will buy Atlas Carpet Mills, a high-end manufacturer and marketer of commercial floorcovering products in Los Angeles.

The purchase of Atlas, which generated sales of $53 million last year, will add more luxury lines in both broadloam and modular carpet tile. The purchase will be a cash deal expected to close next Wednesday, but officials declined to disclose the price to be paid for the privately held manufacturer. The top three executives of Atlas will continue with Dixie under 5-year contracts.

Jim Horwich, founder of Atlas, will remain with Dixie as president of Atlas reporting to Kennedy Frierson, Dixie's chief operating officer.

"Atlas has a very strong sales force and excellent brand equity in the market place, which should maximize our opportunities for growth," Frierson said. "This strong market position has been created by the superior design and styling of their product offerings."

Following the purchase over the next several weeks, Atlas' dyeing operations will be consolidated into Dixie's Susan Street facility located in Santa Ana, Calif. The move is expected to pare Atlas' 200-person workforce, although some associates at the dyeing plant will be offered jobs at the nearby Dixie facility.

Atlas has been profitable every year of the company's 44-year history. Although Atlas will operate as a separate brand within the Dixie portfolio, Frierson said "there are significant synergies from the consolidation of the two dye houses and utilization of other Dixie assets."

The purchase is the 11th carpet company acquired by the Dixie Group since the former yarn and thread manufacturer converted to primarily a carpet maker in the 1990s.