What do you guys think, it seems like a recent push in domestic manufacturing. I am kind of happy since I like HF cuts a bit more than Polo's
Hickey Freeman signs $1M Ralph Lauren deal
(Photo: Jamie Germano , Staff Photographer
Before a throng of cheering Hickey Freeman Co.employees, company officials and Sen. Charles Schumer Monday announced a $1 million manufacturing deal with Polo Ralph Lauren and declared that there more such deals to come.
"We're no longer interested in survival," saidStephen Granovsky, CEO of Toronto-based Grano Retail Holdings, which bought the famed Rochester clothing company last year. "Now we're interested in growth."
Schumer said, "We were looking for quite some time for the right parent (for Hickey Freeman). Now we've found it. We've come home, in a sense."
Under the contract with Polo Ralph Lauren, Hickey Freeman will manufacture the company's "Blue Label" line of tailored suits and sport jackets. The work — which could lead to more Polo contracts for Hickey, Granovsky said — is expected to begin next month.
The deal will increase Hickey's revenue by at least 10 percent, Schumer said.
Granovsky said the deal was worth about $1 million. He said there will be at least two other such contracts with major clothing labels in the coming weeks.
"There is stability now at Hickey Freeman," Granovsky said.
Schumer said, "To be able to bring together two dynamic, trailblazing American clothing brands is a huge step forward for Hickey Freeman."
Officials declined to provide details about the pending contracts, but said the additional work will help Hickey achieve its goal of full factory employment by 2015. The workforce now numbers 415.
Schumer said Hickey's fortunes improved when Grano bought it in part because Grano also owns the Canadian high-end men's clothier, Samuelsohn, and understands the importance of quality tailoring over quick returns on investments.
The new deal, and the stability Schumer and Granovsky cited, is in contrast to Hickey's tumultuous business life over the past several years.
After longtime owner Hartmarx Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2009, the British private equity firm Emerisque Brands and SKNL, an Indian clothing manufacturer, bought Hartmarx's assets. Then the holding company they formed, HMX Acquisition Corp., itself filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Months later, Authentic Brands Group LLC bought Hickey Freeman and turned running Hickey Freeman and sister clothier Hart Schaffner Marx over to W Diamond Group Corp., a private company created by HMX CEO Doug Williams and his wife.
W Diamond Group then sold the Hickey to Grano.
Granovsky said his company is committed to Rochester. "Hickey Freeman isn't going anywhere," he said.
The move to Hickey is part of Polo Ralph Lauren's "Made in America" initiative whereby some of its production will be brought back to the United States, Schumer and Grano company officials said Monday.
The Blue Label brand has been manufactured in Italy. The deal and others to come could boost production and add up to 50 jobs in the next three years.
No one from Ralph Lauren attended Monday's news conference at the factory on North Clinton Avenue in Rochester.
Granovsky said Lauren is bringing the jobs back from Italy because of the preference American shoppers have shown for products made in this country.
"When Ralph Lauren made the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team, he became aware of the importance of American-made," Granovsky said.
Lauren designed and made the uniforms and other clothing for the U.S. Winter Olympics team that competed this year in Sochi, Russia.