Latex Foam International L.L.C. has formed a research, marketing and product development alliance with Louisville Bedding Co. that the companies say will bolster their sales and service.
The pact will enable the two firms to develop an improved category of latex pillow and mattress pad goods, improve service to retailers and increase consumer awareness and demand for Talalay latex foam pillows, according to Kevin Stein, Latex Foam International director of marketing.
The two companies will develop a new category of latex foam products based on the findings of an extensive study of several market segments. The new introductions will be announced in October, Stein said. The firms already have developed new packaging for branded and non-branded products and began shipping the goods from Latex Foam International's Shelton facility in early June.
Beyond that, Louisville Bedding, a maker and distributor of pillows and mattress pads, primarily will serve as the distribution arm of the Shelton manufacturer, Stein said.
The companies began discussing the alliance when Latex Foam International was planning to rebuild its operation following a May 14, 2001, fire that destroyed most of its old production plant in Ansonia, Conn.
The fire ``actually translated into a `clean-slate' opportunity for Latex Foam International the year that our facility was down,'' President and CEO Stephen S. Russo said. Once the company finalized plans to open a new manufacturing center, ``we still had to rethink the way we marketed and distributed our pillow products.''
It discovered different distribution channels for its products and determined Louisville Bedding was its best match for an alliance, Russo said.