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"Federally Funded Center Helps Firms Stay Competitive in Global Economy, Program Steers Manufacturers Through Free Trade Storms"

Trager Manufacturing was moving from the import-crowded backpack market to higher-quality, single-strap messenger bags and sporty workbags when John Tanner, company president, saw a flier in the mail promoting Northwest TAAC.

Trager, founded in 1914 in Seattle and one of the only remaining outer-wear companies still sewing in the city, had already set its strategy for survival. Northwest TAAC's 50 percent match to pay for a label redesign, marketing materials and a trade show booth covered $20,000 of the $40,000 overall cost. Tanner couldn't be more pleased. "Companies that didn't need another backpack label are listening to our single-strap, dress-down message," he says. "We doubled our account base in a year."

Roland Ramberg sought help from Northwest TAAC in 1993 when Gear Works, his family-owned industrial gear manufacturing business in south Seattle, was trying to gain ISO 9000 certification, an international quality-assurance standard. Customers were pressuring Gear Works to adopt ISO 9000 standards as foreign competitors were underbidding the company for contracts.

Northwest TAAC paid 20 percent to 50 percent of the various costs for consultants and auditors for a process that cost Gear Works $150,000. "It certainly helped take away the pain of implementation for such a costly endeavor," Ramberg says. "If we hadn't had help, it would have taken us a lot longer and we wouldn't have done it as aggressively as we did."

By Carol Ryan
Washington CEO

For a copy of this complete article, contact the TAAC office nearest you.

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Trade Adjustment Assistance For Firms
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce
Economic Development Administration
Washington, DC 20230

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