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If first impressions are lasting ones, Northern Cross Industries will have an impact in the futon industry for years to come. The market's newest entry has lost no time in demonstrating an innovative flair. It was only March when NCI acquired Malden Novelty Company, a pioneer futon cover manufacturer. Since that time, NCI has introduced a line of window treatment fashions, doubled the offerings of high style futon covers, and at the Futon Expo in New Orleans, they unveiled a truly innovative futon cover: the VersaQuiltTM.

The VersaQuiltTM is a five layer composition which offers five unique features:
First it's reversible, not just back to front, but inside/out thereby doubling the durability and fashion choices of a futon cover.
Secondly, it's hypo-allergenic. The middle layer of the VersaQuiltTM is a micron vapor barrier which won't allow allergens to come in contact with the sleeper.
Thirdly, it's essentially waterproof. The same middle layer is bound to the fabric ultrasonically, eliminating the pin holes caused by needle stitching. A futon mattress covered with a VersaQuiltTM will be protected from spilled drinks, foods or incontinent sleepers.
Fourthly it's a mattress pad. The two inner layers surrounding the micron barrier are composed of Spring Back Fiberfil.
And lastly, it's tufted giving the futon sofa a plushness formerly reserved for fine furniture.
Reaction "Very Favorable". According to Rick Salow, VP Sales for NCI, the response has exceeded expectations. "We have been very pleased by the response. It's great to be in an industry that welcomes innovation. Once we described the VersaQuilt'sTM unique characteristics many of the dealers were formulating their own sales presentations.
They were jumping ahead of us".
Ray King, owner of Futon Etc.'s four stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island stated, "This is what we need. This will broaden the market and its appeal. It will sell."
Gena Hester, owner of the two Futon Showplaces of Big Bear Lake, California claims, "It makes a six inch mattress look like an eight inch and it gives the eight inch a richness, a fullness like no other."
Dick Oneto, president of Mattress Magic in Milford and Foxboro, Massachusetts, "There's no chance of mildew with this futon cover. Whether you use it for a sofa and spill a coke, or use it as a bed for a young child, that vapor barrier will protect the futon mattress. Just pop the futon cover in the washing machine and it's as good as new. This is needed."
Salow further adds that value conscious shoppers should appreciate the VersaQuiltTM . "This futon cover is five layers of material compared to a normal single layer futon cover. The VersaQuiltTM looks so much more substantial."

Track Record of Creativity

The history of Northern Cross is as interesting as the VersaQuiltTM. NCI's flagship product is called Window Quilt, which is the only product available which saves 80% of a window's heat loss in the winter and 86% of a window's cooling loss in the summer. The business was acquired by Glyptal Inc., which was formerly the specialty coating's division of General Electric. What could a coatings manufacturer serving the aerospace, electronics, and power generation industries have in common with window treatments? "They're both suppliers of engineered materials," explained Bill Hoag, president of both companies. "I think each company's engineering staff appreciated the elegance of the other's products."
NCI's 60,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility is located in Brattleboro, VT. "The assimilation of Malden's business to the Brattleboro facility is complete. Brattleboro is a place which still honors the tradition of Yankee craftsmanship and frugality. We will continue with Malden's legacy of good value for the money," added Hoag.
What challenges does NCI see in the future? "Probably two major ones," explains Hoag. "We sure don't want engineers choosing fabric patterns. We've asked a fabric designer to join our team and help fill out our line. And secondly we have to figure a way to make a five layer futon cover competitive cost wise with a single layered product" "I like their chances" comments Oneto, "It's good to get some listeners instead of just more talkers." If products speak for themselves the futon industry will be hearing a lot more from Malden Products and Northern Cross Industries.


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