2014 Wools of New Zealand Mill Tour

It is important to get out of the showroom and do something educational.  In this case, go to north Georgia and visit some of our suppliers and the faces behind the voice on the phone (or an email).   Our travels included a visit to J Mish in Calhoun, GA.  This is a boutique mill that offers some unique products, custom offerings and great customer service.

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Just up the road from them is Southern Yarn Dyers.  This is the largest wool carpet dying facility in the United States.  Just like J Mish, it is all about customer service and quality. Two terms that our group would hear from just about every place we visited.  This plant is buzzing!  Shifts run nearly 24/7!  John Whittenburg, the owner is helpful in leading me to a place where our showroom can purchase wool serging yarn in any color that we need.

Next stop is Nourison and seeing an old friend, Don Karlin (formerly with many places including J Mish).  Don is now National Sales Manager at Nourison and is complimented by French Irishman, Gerard O’Keefe.  One thing about Nourison is that they have inventory!  Rugs, runners, broadloom and coordinating borders.  Even seasonal Christmas rugs.

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Nourison’s warehouse is HUGE.  The first one filled up so that added a second ( above right) that is just coming online.  The photos do not begin to tell the story.  Area rug fabrication (Infinity – 50 rug sizes from broadloom carpet) is done at this facility as well with matching wool serging and runner end capping.

Dinner hosted by Nourison in a Japanese Hibachi restaurant that ran out of cold saki five minutes into our arrival brought a lot of laughs.  So did the stories related to the fear of squirrels by Wools of New Zealand UK Director, David Hammond (not related to Top Gear’s Richard Hammond).

Day 2:  A visit to the coating and backing plant in Dalton, GA.  A multi generational business run by Tom Peebles.  Global Textile services can apply 70 different types of backing to carpet, pad, etc.  The place has so many bathes of chemicals, tanks, etc. that Netflix’s  Breaking Bad comes to mind. Terry Hicks (bottom left) shows the techiniques of how the backing is “married” with the carpet.  And yes, there are different grades of latex.


Our next stop was Woolshire Carpet Mills in Calhoun, GA.  Now run by second generation, Terry Green (bottom right).  These guys make high quality wool carpet that can be used in commercial and residential applications.  In the outgoing freight of the day, there was roll for Gucci headed to Malaysia and Tiffany & Company in Japan.


Thank you to Terry and his wife, Carmen, for a great lunch at Dub’s High on the Hog barbeque restaurant in Calhoun.  Terry recommends the ribs.  And after having them with the brunswick stew and fried okra, I agree.   There are some great things in the South that you just cannot get in Southern California including the genuine hospitality.

Our afternoon visit to Godfrey Hirst in Adairsville, GA with John Sheffield and Laurie Bray offered a surprise.  An offer to manufacture a printed wool product exclusively for the Wools of New Zealand Showroom Partners of Excellence.  This product could be used in commercial settings.  Now we just need to have our Advisory Council come up with the final designs and colors.  We hope to have the samples available in Spring 2015.

Godfrey Hirst graciously hosted the group to a terrific dinner at the Woodlands Grill at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, GA.   The resort itself is an amazing place with a lot of history.


Our final day was spent at Masland / Robertex / Carousel.  The Dixie Group recently purchased Robertex and Carousel which is based in Calhoun, GA.  This mill does much more in house compared to the boutique carpet mills.  They have their own dye house in the same facility.  In addition, there is a hand loom area in the plant devoted to making custom rugs under the Carousel brand.  It takes a weaver 6 to 9 months of training before they are 100% comfortable with the hand looming process.  We are so lucky that this type of work can still be done in the USA.  As luck would have it, one of the rugs being loomed was for one of our designer clients.  See photos below:

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Our tour of this mill included a presentation by Vicki Gilstrap, Dixie’s color professional, regarding the upcoming color trends.  Vice President, Paul Cominsky, gave the group a sneak peak at brand new product that has not even be sampled.  I have photos but cannot share them here at this time.  Nothing beats having a lunch in the carpet inspection area!

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Conclusion:  all week long we heard our vendor partners speak about quality and customer service.  Funny.  That’s is what we tell our clients about our business and the suppliers that we work with!






New Arrival: Godfrey Hirst Easy Life Carpet

Although we prefer wool and Stainmaster nylon fiber carpets, this new collection of PET polyester carpets from Godfrey Hirst definitely fill a niche in our showroom.  These products are priced right and are perfect for rental properties, resale homes or base grade carpet for new construction.  In addition, these products will be great for active families.

With carpet styles that are rich with color, texture and patterns, our Easy Living collection uses PET polyester  manufactured with Spectral Solution Dyed Fiber helps meet the needs of a demanding household.

Spectral Solution Dyed Fiber is manufactured from continuous filament PET polyester.  Tightly fibers are tightly spun into yarn using higher twist levels than other manufacturers.  A dense construction in the carpet is used to provide greater performance, ensuring greater appearance retention as well as durability. Solution dyed yarn means lasting color and FADE RESISTENCE for years of exceptional color clarity.

Our commitment to the environment is another reason Godfrey Hirst chose to manufacture with Spectral color lock yarns made from PET polyester. PET polyester is one of the easiest carpet fibers to recycle. This helps reduce energy consumption, saving valuable petroleum resources and more iMportantly, helps eliminate solid waste from landfills.

This entire collection is available at Hemphill’s Rugs & Carpets.  Visit our website and/or showroom

Inside Scoop: Wool Carpet Mill Tour

Being a member of the Wools of New Zealand Premier Partner advisory council, I had the opportunity to tour several wool carpet mills and facilities outside of Atlanta, GA.  Our first stop was J Mish.  J Mish makes all of their wool carpet in the United States.  Their manufacturing facilities and warehouses are extremely clean.  I have toured quite a few carpet mills during the past 20 plus years of being in this business.  J Mish does something that I have never seen before.  They do not leave any carpet roll unwrapped.  If the roll is opened to cut 20′ off for an order, it is wrapped again before being put away.  Our meeting continued through a great catered lunch that included, of course, sweet tea along with a home made strawberry shortcake.  Thank you so much Don for hosting our group.

Our next stop was Godfrey Hirst.  The mill is based in Australia.  We were treated to a tour of their new larger distribution facility in Georgia.  Godfrey Hirst is the largest manufacturer of wool carpet in the world. Our meeting with Godfrey Hirst’s “numbers man”, John Sheffield was time well spent as he guided our group down a path that we feel will pay great dividends to the select Premier Partner showrooms.  Thank you to John & Lori for a great meal at the Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, GA.

Day two of our adventure started with a visit to Stanton Carpet which also includes the brands of Antrim, Royal Dutch and Rosecore.  The company is similar to Godfrey Hirst in that they do not manufacture carpet in the United States.  They import their carpet from throughout the world including China, Europe and India.  The company does, however, fabricate area rugs in the facility in Georgia.  They have huge air tables with binding and serging machines dotting the perimeter.  Comments about having an air hockey tournament on these fabricating  tables created some laughs.  Again, we found the warehouse to be especially clean and were impressed by the volume of inventory.

Our second visit was with Hibernia Woolen Mills at a Mexican restaurant called La Paz in Marietta, GA.  We had some time constraints due to travel plans.  Eric introduced the group to some stunning new patterns and concepts that are a welcome addition to the current line of Hibernia products.  Currently, Hibernia manufactures all of its carpet in the United States with distribution facilities in California and Georgia.  In fact, the home office is in Whittier, CA about an hour away from our showroom.  Co-owner Eric Sharff is a seasoned young veteran in this industry and seems to have set up a specific career goal in mind a couple of decades ago after leaving a position at Nike.

Perhaps the best part of the two day meeting were the new friends that I gained – Larry and Karen from Lafayette, CA; John from Houston; Kate from Chicago; Steve & Hilary from Boston; and Sam from Cinci.

The end result of our meetings and discussions is that the Premier Partner Showrooms are going to be able to offer our clients preferred pricing on ALL branded New Zealand Wool products twice per year, special wool carpet not found elsewhere in the United States, educated sales teams that are wool specialists and great product knowledge.

Visit our showroom you will quickly discover why we were selected at a Wools of New Zealand Premier Partner.  Our showroom proudly offers the following Wools of New Zealand Mill Partner products: Bellbridge; Concepts International; Couristan; Fabrica; Godfrey Hirst; Hagaman; Hibernia; J. Mish; Karastan; Luzern; Masland; Nourison; Radici; Royal Dutch; Stanton; Weave-Tuft; Woolshire