Consumer paper products and bottled water prevail at First Quality Enterprises (FQE). A diversified group of companies, FQE manufactures and distributes adult incontinence products, baby diapers and training pants, tampons, and other consumer paper products (such as bath tissue and paper towels), as well as bottled water. Its brands include Prevail, Femtex, Opal, Cuties, First Quality, and Pureau, and the firm makes private-label goods for others. FQE distributes its products to institutions (such as long-term care and assisted living facilities), businesses, and retailers in the US and abroad. The company, established in 1988, is managed and owned by several generations of the founding Damaghi family.
From its start as a maker of adult incontinence products, FQE has steadily expanded its product lines and operations over the years. It acquired the retail products business of health care firm Covidien and launched Panda brand bath tissue and Pureau Bottled Water in 2008, a baby diaper business in 2007, and paper products in 2004. More recently, the company in late 2010 began expanding its baby products manufacturing facilities in Georgia, and it is slated to open a tissue and towel manufacturing center in South Carolina by late 2011. The tissue and towel center is part of FQE's plan to invest $1 billion and create 1,000 jobs in Anderson County, South Carolina, by 2020. Each of FQE's businesses is managed separately but overseen by the Damaghis.
Amid tough economic times in the US and internationally, FQE faces unyielding competition from makers of name-brand consumer goods. Many of its rivals have lowered their prices, eroding (and sometimes eliminating) the cost difference with store-brand products. – less