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Pinehurst Patio & Umbrella closes

Retail store will continue to operate

Cinde Ingram, Staff Staff -- Casual Living, November 27, 2006

After 20 years in business, Pinehurst Patio & Umbrellas will cease operations as a wholesale umbrella manufacturer Friday, Dec. 22.
Owners Dwight and Cindy Ellison said the rising costs of labor, raw materials and a four-month delay in receiving umbrella frames from overseas were key factors in their decision to close the manufacturing division.

The Ellisons, who bought the company in June 2004, will continue to operate their casual furniture retail store at the same 4,500-sq.-ft. location in West End, N.C. In addition, they will maintain manufacturing of umbrellas, custom cushions and sling replacements for their retail customers.

“Our retail store here has been supporting the wholesale business for the last two years,” Dwight Ellison said. “We increased our retail business by about 30 percent last year, and it’s been about the same this year as last year. We just thought it was in the best interest of our business to close the manufacturing part of it and concentrate more on our retail business.”

Because its umbrella manufacturing part of the business leveled off in 2006, remaining at the approximately $650,000 average income level as 2005, the Ellisons decided to turn their focus to their thriving retail store. The Pinehurst area, known as a golfing and retirement resort community, has proven to be a strong retail market because residents moving in are willing to spend discretionary money on middle- to high-end outdoor furniture, Ellison said.   
Charles McGee, who has been with Pinehurst Umbrellas for 17 years, will remain with the company to work in retail sales. During its busiest times, the manufacturing division relied on eight to 10 seasonal employees, Ellison said.
Robert Luttrell opened Pinehurst Umbrellas in December 1986, so the closing occurs at the company’s 20-year anniversary. Pinehurst Umbrellas will continue to take orders through Dec. 22 for in-stock frames and fabrics. Orders for replacement cushions and slings will be accepted from all customers until further notice.

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