Kline and Soule’s report finds that the operating costs for Alta Gracia are almost three times that of its competitors. The authors suggest that the higher productivity of Alta Gracia workers, due to less frequent employee turnover and absenteeism, can close some of the cost discrepancy. However, the authors acknowledge that higher individual efficiency alone is not enough of a solution. The largest supplier of college apparel in the United States, Knights Apparel, offers Alta Gracia products in over 400 bookstores nationwide. Alta Gracia products perform as well in university bookstores as their competing brands; however, the product line accounts for only a small percentage of Knights’ overall production.

According to the report, to achieve a sustainable production level for the current factory, at least 40 bookstores must devote six or seven percent of their floor space to Alta Gracia products. Bozich said Knights’ other clothing lines are currently keeping Alta Gracia afloat.

While Bozich thanked University President John J. DeGioia and the university for promoting corporate social responsibility, he and his employees emphasized the importance of informing others about the beneficial impact of purchasing Alta Gracia goods.

“We’re a long way from being where we want to be,” Bozich said. “If I had one request, it would be, help us spread the word.”

Bozich hopes to eventually employ more people, build more factories and serve as an example for his competitors.

“Hopefully we’ll have such a success story that other companies will want to follow suit,” Bozich said.

Although the profit margins indicate that Alta Gracia is struggling, Kline stressed that the brand has proven its ability to sell and impact the lives of the factory workers.

“The product has proven itself in these bookstores where it’s been given decent floor space,” he said.

He added that this will be the year in which Alta Gracia’s long-term sustainability will become apparent.Bozich expects the brand’s business to double in the coming year.

“The next 18 months is a crucial time for it,” Kline said. “At this stage, it is really dependent on the collegiate consumer.”

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