That’s what attracted the company to NAEIR, the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources, when it came time to do some warehouse spring cleaning, said CEO Joel Freet .
Cutter & Buck has made in-kind donations of men’s and women’s apparel, valued at nearly $8 million, to NAEIR, which then makes products available to qualified non-profits, enabling them to stretch their budgets and help communities around the country.
“At Cutter & Buck, we a have firm commitment to sustainability, while also being committed to owning large stock levels for our business model,” Freet said. “When we do discontinue a product line with large stock, we are often left with a broken size scale, with perhaps one to two sizes left out of 10, and we truly are unable to completely sell out.”
Looking for the best possible home for these end-of-run products, Cutter & Buck partnered with NAEIR. “NAIER has enabled us to keep our commitment to sustainably, finding a good final home for our end-of-run products, while having the distribution volume high enough to help us exactly when it is best for us,” he added.
“It’s a win for sustainability, a win for our storage space and a win for the recipients that NAEIR is in the position to help. We make regular product donations to non-profits in our own community based on local need, but NAEIR has the capacity and the network to find where the products are needed most.”
Since its founding in 1977, Galesburg, Ill.-based NAEIR has received donations from more than 8,000 U.S. corporations and distributed more than $3 billion in products. CEO Gary C. Smith says he and his staff are delighted to welcome Cutter & Buck to their donor base, which includes such iconic brands as Crayola, 3M, Avery and PaperMate.
“I agree with Joel that everybody wins,” Smith said. “In a perfect world, companies would sell every item they manufacture. But, in reality, sometimes they produce too much, orders are cancelled or models are discontinued. Unsold merchandise piles up, takes up valuable warehouse space and costs a lot to store.”
Rather than risk merchandise ending up in a landfill or with a liquidator, companies have the option to donate it to NAEIR. Then, NAEIR gives it to 501(c)(3) nonprofits including churches, shelters, community groups and schools, for only a nominal handling fee.
“NAEIR members can use all those extra supplies and tools to help teachers give better lessons, shelters take care of more people and churches provide more help for the needy,” Smith says. “Companies like Cutter & Buck have the satisfaction of knowing they have kept their commitment to sustainability while supporting communities.”