Salo Grosfeld, a local Miami entrepreneur, is the Chairman of the Board for J.R. United Industries, a company that was passed down from his father. Boca Terry has an ongoing relationship with J.R. United Industries, and we knew they would be the perfect company to feature this month; we decided to sit down and get to know Mr. Grosfeld a bit better:
1. How do you feel that J.R. United Industries is changing the textile industry?
We are vertically manufacturing in Central America, so we are adding speed to market and we’re using all US cotton for better quality. That’s the big difference between our competitors and us.
2. What goals do you continue to strive for each day?
We want to give great quality, the best service, and consistency of product.
3. How has your company evolved along with the changing economy?
It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but we’ve had good growth in the last 3 years. We have seen growth along with the hospitality business.
4. Today, J.R. United Industries is the largest importer of towels in the United States.
Why do you believe the company has been so successful as a brand?
We’ve been in business for 50 years and we have been able to diversify our product categories—from sheets and towels, retail, hospitality, and online business all add to the growth. We’ve been able to keep the growth consistent.
5. You seem to be an experienced entrepreneur; aside from J.R. United Industries, you have had your hand in good number of companies. What advice do you have for new entrepreneurs and small business owners?
If you believe in something, you have to focus and be persistent until you achieve your goals.
6. What are some of your biggest personal accomplishments?
My family. I have 7 kids and 4 grandkids, so that’s my hardest and my favorite job.
7. We noticed you earned an award for charity work in Afghanistan—can you explain this further?
Yes, that was after we invaded Iraq & Afghanistan. Laura Bush wanted to help the women of Afghanistan to teach them how to sew their own clothing. They hired a teacher who was a dressmaker, but they had a problem—in Afghanistan, they had problems with electricity and couldn’t find the right machinery.
We had been doing business in Pakistan for many years; I went to my partners there and we decided to bring 500 foot-pedaled sewing machines, so they wouldn’t need electricity. We also brought enough fabric and yarn so they could make dresses for a whole year. It was fun and a great thing to do.
8. Your father, Julio, created J.R. United Industries. What is some of the best advice he gave you—whether for business or life?
He gave me a lot of great advice. He always reminded to try not to do things that bother your sleep—try to do the right thing and work hard, and that’s really what we try to do everyday. Its kind of general, but when you worked with my dad you knew what the right thing was.
9. What has been the basis of your relationship with Boca Terry?
Basically, we have been customers because Boca Terry has products in their line that, because of our focus, we don’t want to get involved in. We buy from them and manufacture for them because they do not manufacture towels; we work with them on their towel programs. It’s a great relationship, because it works both ways. We help each other.
10. Would you recommend Boca Terry robes or other products to a friend?
Absolutely. They develop and sell great quality products that serve a high-end luxury niche.
11. Please describe your experience working with the Boca Terry team. Has it been positive?
Yes, it has. We have a great working relationship.