UW-Stout News Story

Towels made by alumnus will help 70,000 cheer on Packers

January 11, 2012

When the Green Bay Packers take the field against the New York Giants Sunday, Jan. 15, in the NFL playoffs, they’ll be greeted by a sea of fans waving gold Titletown Towels.

That sight will make Gregg McArthur smile. His company, McArthur Towel & Sports, a WinCraft company, made the mountain of promotional towels that will be given to more than 70,000 fans as they enter Lambeau Field for the game. It's the Packers' first home playoff game in four seasons.

For McArthur, a 1980 business administration graduate from University of Wisconsin-Stout, the NFL playoffs are a busy and fun time of the year — especially when the Packers are involved. If the Packers successfully defend the Super Bowl title they won last year against Pittsburgh, McArthur Towels will be busy for months afterward making special commemorative towels and accessory products for fans.

As a businessman he was pulling for a repeat of last year’s title game, but the Steelers lost in the first round of the playoffs last weekend at Denver. McArthur Towels, based in Baraboo, has been making the famous Terrible Towel for Steelers fans for many years. Having the Packers and Steelers in the 2011 Super Bowl “was the perfect storm,” he said.

McArthur admits that some Packers and Steelers fans weren’t pleased when they found out last year that the Terrible Towel was being made in Wisconsin by a Packers fan. “We received a lot of press on it and a little heat because we’re from Wisconsin and making towels for the rival team,” he said.

But, business is business. McArthur doesn’t discriminate when it comes to team loyalty. McArthur Towels is licensed by the NFL to make towels and other products for all 32 NFL teams. It also has licenses with Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, major colleges and NASCAR.

McArthur Towels has been in business since 1885. McArthur, the fifth generation, joined the family company as a salesman after graduating from UW-Stout. He quickly moved into the president’s role as the company’s focus switched from making locker room towels for schools, clubs and YMCAs to promotional towels. After a few years, he pushed for and landed the license to sell NFL products.

McArthur Towels was acquired in 2010 by WinCraft, a Winona, Minn., company that holds numerous sports-related licenses and is a stateside producer of many other promotional products, many for the Super Bowl. McArthur heads the McArthur Towels division for WinCraft.

“WinCraft is the leader in hardline sports-licensed merchandise, and we are now proud to be one of WinCraft’s largest product families,” he said.

WinCraft has more than 500 employees. McArthur Towels has 30 in Baraboo. The terry cloth products are produced overseas and decorated in the U.S. at facilities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

For the NFL, McArthur makes more than collectible fan towels. It produces player towels, championship on-field Trophy Towels and robes and wraps worn by the athletes. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers sported the Trophy Towel during postgame interviews at last year’s Super Bowl. The Trophy Towel will once again be featured this year as part of the Trophy Collection, which includes a championship hat, T-shirt and towel.

“It’s always exciting to see the fruits of our labors being used,” McArthur said. “The NFL is a marketing machine. It’s a great brand.”

McArthur’s wife, Brenda, also is a 1980 UW-Stout graduate, in art with an interior design concentration. They have two daughters, one of whom, Lexie, is marketing manager for McArthur Towels.

“I received a great education from UW-Stout. What I really appreciated was the hands-on work opportunities I received. I remember my time at Sanna Dairy (now ConAgra Foods) in Menomonie. You really learn with hands-on experience,” McArthur said.

Thirty-two years after graduating from UW-Stout, McArthur is enjoying the challenges of being a business executive and the perks that come with the job. He attends many top sporting events that involve the company’s products. “Business is conducted (at those events), but it’s also a lot of fun,” he said.

“Our goal is to keep the McArthur brand strong and grow it. We’re always looking for new opportunities.”

For more information on McArthur Towel & Sports, go to http://www.mcarthurtowels.com.

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