EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 25, 2013

It's in the bag - and in the city

Company adjusts to succeed and stay in Lawrence

LAWRENCE — From Water Street, you can barely see the home of Spector Textile Products. Walk into their facility, however, and you’ll find a busy supplier meeting the demands of society with USA MADE products and USA MADE jobs.

Walk on their roof, and you’ll see something completely different — several arrays of solar photovoltaic panels, 1,495 units total, covering the entire building to make it all happen.

Since 1937, Spector Textile Products has been in the business of fitting society’s byproducts to society’s own needs from its headquarters in Lawrence. The company has had several chances to relocate since then, but it has always stayed in its original home, according to company Vice President Howie Flagler.

The company’s latest venture, USA Made Laundry Bags, brings in material by massive volumes to turn it into “finished goods to either customer specifications or product demands, whatever the industry is,” Flagler said.

In any given week, the facility is pumping out hundreds, if not thousands, of laundry bags, reflective vests, truck coverings and more. They are made to order, largely for the dry-cleaning industry, according to Flagler.

But this is only what they’ve been doing recently. Since the company first opened within the Spector family, it has changed its target demographic just as quickly as the demographics themselves have changed.

When the “cut and sew operation” first opened, staying in business meant taking scrap and discarded wool from Lawrence mills in the ‘40s to create whatever there was demand for, according to company President Howard Spector.

“One of the major applications before the war was for felt, for Army jackets,” Spector said.

His father, Louis Spector, “would reclaim waste ends from all of the industries up and down the Merrimack, and then sell them to other people,” Flagler said.

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