Richard S. Marcus helped weave legacy of blankets in United States
"The history of blankets in this country is the history of my family," says Richard Marcus, chairman and chief executive officer of American Woolen Company, a Miami-based blanket empire with roots dating back to the Civil War era. The company, first based in Boston, was formally founded in 1899. Mr. Marcus has owned it since 1966. His father invented the thermal blanket, he says, and he the first non-woven blanket. Current interpretation of the Wool Products Labeling Act stems from Mr. Marcus' challenge of the Federal Trade Commission at age 33, he says. Once Miami's fourth-largest manufacturing employer, American Woolen no longer manufactures in the US aside from products for the military. Labor in the country was too expensive — "If you're going to compete globally, you have to import and export," Mr. Marcus says. Now exports make up 20% of his business, and he aims to up it to 40% within the next three years. Mr. Marcus was interviewed by Miami Today staff writer Risa Polansky.
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