Tannery display goes to Washington

May 19, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

see the enlargement

Garden State TanneryTannery display goes to Washington

WILLIAMSPORT - A cowhide, a car seat and a photo display from Garden State Tanning's Williamsport plant will serve for the next two months to remind high-level business and government officials how much an American product can affect the international market.

Garden State produces quality leather used by top automakers worldwide, company officials said. The firm has four manufacturing plants in the United States.

The Williamsport plant's display was taken Friday by Garden State officials to the office of Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade David Aaron in Washington, D.C. Aaron said he wanted examples of successfully exported U.S. products to show visitors.


The local plant ships 1.4 million pieces of leather per month to Japan for use by that country's major automakers, said Joseph Cooley, vice president of sales and marketing for Garden State Inc.

Cooley said the local company has annual sales of $180 million and is Toyota's largest single exporter for leather used in car seats. Seventy percent to 72 percent of the firm's products are exported to Japan and Europe, he said.

Garden State Vice President of Operations Glenn D. Thornley said the company has been supplying Toyota with high-quality leather for 18 years, and now supplies 80 percent of the leather used in Lexus luxury cars worldwide.

Toyota officials will film the Commerce display and report about it on the company's Web site, Cooley said.

Garden State also supplies leather to Mazda, Honda and BMW in Europe, Cooley said. The company recently added Isuzu, Ford in Europe, and Nissan to its list of customers.

In recent years, Garden State in Williamsport has improved both quality of leather and productivity, Thornley said. The company is able to fill orders quickly.

"From (removing) hair on a cow to a cut piece of leather it takes about nine days," he said.

Garden State is working to expand its domestic business base, and hopes to soon have Mercedes as another overseas customer, Cooley said. Mercedes officials will visit the local plant in June, he said.

The pieces destined for overseas are sent to sewing factories there, he said.

This year, the fourth in a row, Garden State in Williamsport received Toyota's award for value improvements and cost-effectiveness. Toyota executives will be at the plant for Toyota Appreciation Day on June 20, Cooley said.

The local plant scores high points with the Japanese, Cooley said.

"In Japan we are told we're regarded as the No. 1 leather company in the world," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles