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Success Story: Third-Generation Family-Owned Business Stays Ahead of Competition

Third-Generation Family-Owned Business Stays Ahead of Competition

A family-owned company, MWW, Inc. started as a small woodworking shop selling souvenirs to vacationers passing through Hickory Nut Gap, North Carolina. The second generation of MWW ownership added weaving to the company’s portfolio, and began selling products to big box retailers in addition to mom-and-pop gift shops. Now in its third generation of family ownership, MWW has embraced on-demand printing and production, which has quickly grown to make up 40 percent of the company’s business. Based in Hendersonville, North Carolina, MWW has 400 employees.

The experts from IES were able to walk through the department and show exactly where the waste was, and describe what we could do to get rid of it. They came in with a lot of small, realistic ideas that could be easily implemented.    —Scott Sargent, Director of Operation for Manufacturing

Competition in the textile industry is fierce, and U.S. manufacturers are seldom able to compete with international manufacturers on price alone. If a customer wants a personalized product in three days, however, it’s very difficult to get it from an international supplier. MWW was looking for ways to shave its production times and maintain a competitive edge.

After a series of high-priced independent consultants and internal efforts failed to reach MWW’s desired outcomes, the company reached out to the E3: Economy, Energy and Environment initiative, administered by NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions, part of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, part of the MEP National Network. For an affordable price, E3 provided an opportunity for MWW leaders to thoroughly assess their current operations and find opportunities for economic, energy, and environmental improvements. By implementing practical solutions in all three areas, the company increased sales, made strategic investments, uncovered savings and added jobs.


  • Increased/retained sales: $2,000,000
  • New investment: $215,000
  • Cost-Savings: $125,000
  • Added/retained jobs: 22

Could your company benefit from assistance with E3? Contact your local MEP Center for more information.


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The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is the official representative of the MEP National Network™ in North Carolina. The MEP National Network™ is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing.

About the author

North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) provides manufacturing extension services that enhance the productivity, innovative capacity and technological performance of US-based manufacturing firms.

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