Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the parent company of world-renowned clothier Hickey Freeman, Luxury Men's Apparel Group, has committed to creating up to 80 new jobs over the next three years. By stabilizing operations and improving efficiencies at the historic factory in the City of Rochester, the company will not only create new jobs, but also retain its current 420 positions to further supporting anti-poverty efforts in Monroe County.
"Hickey Freeman has been a fixture of Rochester's business and manufacturing community for generations, and this investment will ensure it remains part of the city's economic fabric for decades to come," Governor Cuomo said. "We are proud to support the expansion of this iconic Rochester company, creating quality jobs for hardworking residents and moving the Finger Lakes forward."
"Hickey Freeman suits are a cut above the rest and are proudly made in New York State," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement in Rochester. "Their clothing is a storied part of Rochester's history, and we are committed to supporting their expansion and continued growth in upstate New York. Hickey Freeman is the latest company to announce new, good paying jobs in the City of Rochester, and this investment will help to ensure continued economic progress in the Finger Lakes region."
To facilitate the plan, New York State is providing $4 million through a Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative convertible loan in exchange for the job creation commitment. In addition to the URI funding, efforts to ensure Hickey Freeman's continued presence [at the] at the company's North Clinton Avenue location were also supported by Federal Government officials, Monroe County, the City of Rochester, and the Greater Rochester Enterprise. Already underway, upgrades at the factory are expected to be completed by the end of 2019 with an estimated total project cost of $8.2 million.
Stephen Granovsky, Chairman & CEO of Luxury Men's Apparel Group said, "This year Hickey Freeman turns 120 and we couldn't celebrate any better than announcing our partnership with the state, city and county to re-capitalize Hickey Freeman Tailored Clothing with a combined 8 million dollars laying the foundation for another 120 years in Rochester. With the proceeds, together with our federal support, we intend to re-engineer this factory enabling our clothing to be manufactured for new distribution channels, new price points, new brands and even for new categories. In fact, today we are announcing that by the summer we intend to begin manufacturing dress shirts in Rochester, adding some 20 jobs immediately."
In December of 2018, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer further assisted Hickey Freeman by ensuring that the bipartisan Farm Bill Conference Report included a fully-funded extension of the Wool Trust Fund program through 2023. The program, which provides Hickey Freeman up to $3 million a year in tariff relief, is crucial in keeping costs commensurate with overseas competitors that are not subject to these tariffs.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "Today we are suiting up Rochester's iconic 120- year old storied institution Hickey Freeman for an even longer and brighter future in Rochester with new production, new products and most importantly, new jobs. Sewing-up these new jobs relied on extending the federal Wool Trust Fund that was set to end in 2019 and would have eliminated up to $3 million a year that the company counts on to offset an anti-competitive federal tariff on imported raw wool. Instead I fought tooth and nail and secured a five-year extension of the Wool Trust in the Farm Bill, creating a level playing field for Hickey Freeman and its signature 'Made in the USA' world-class clothing. Together with Governor Cuomo's vital support and the efforts of his team led by NYS ESD President & CEO Howard Zemsky we've buttoned-up new Rochester jobs at Hickey Freeman."
Congressman Joe Morelle said, "Hickey Freeman has been an iconic part of Rochester's community fabric for more than a century, and I am so pleased that these upgrades will allow the business to continue to grow, create new jobs, and strengthen our regional economy for years to come. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and our partners at Empire State Development for their continued commitment to sustaining economic growth and opportunity in Rochester and throughout New York State."
Founded in 1899, the men's suit manufacturer has been operating at its current North Clinton Street facility, dubbed the Temple, since 1912. In addition to providing employment for neighborhood residents, Hickey Freeman's Heroes & Leaders program seeks to hire local veterans and supports Rochester and returning veterans nationally with donated suits for interviewing and employment.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Supporting the continued growth and modernization of the historic company, a Rochester landmark for the past century, will support its next chapter of economic success."
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, "Hickey Freeman has a long history in the City of Rochester and this investment and planned expansion shows the company's continued commitment to the area. We are proud of this collaborative effort that will ensure that many new, good-paying jobs will be created over the next few years contributing to the continued economic growth of the Finger Lakes region."
Senator Joe Robach said, "It is exciting to hear that Hickey Freeman will be continuing their long and rich history here in Rochester and creating new jobs for our workforce in the process. As a member of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, I am pleased to see the state's investment in this project and the collaborative efforts by all those who made this possible."
Assembly Member David Gantt said, "Hickey Freeman has been a crucial part of Rochester's past and now it will continue to be an important part of its future as well. Many thanks to the company for committing to continue to grow its storied business here, creating great jobs for area residents. Thank you as well to all of the community and state partners who worked so closely together to ensure this company's continued presence on North Clinton Avenue"
Assembly Member Harry Bronson said, "I applaud Stephen Granovsky, and the team at Luxury Men's Apparel Group for their commitment to our region and keeping Hickey Freeman a viable operation in Rochester. Today's announcement by the company and Governor Cuomo shows that the Rochester area has a strong, diverse, and skilled workforce and is in an economic position to create and keep jobs for the future. I look forward to Hickey Freeman continued operations and the addition of new jobs in the heart of Rochester."
Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "Hickey Freeman has been an iconic Rochester employer for almost 120 years and the factory on North Clinton Avenue is a point of neighborhood pride in Northeast Rochester, which is why my administration is happy to support this expansion project with $500,000 in grants and loans from the City and the Rochester Economic Development Corp. I want to thank the owners of Hickey Freeman for believing in our city and making this investment in our community. I am also grateful to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for their work to retain and grow these jobs in Rochester through Finger Lakes Forward and helping us achieve our goals of creating more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens."
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "Hickey Freeman has been a Rochester icon for generations and I'm proud to have been part of the collaborative conversation to keep the company here for years to come. Monroe County is offering the full support of our unique workforce development programs, like LadderzUp and Recruiting on the Road, to help the company hire skilled employees as it adds more local jobs. I thank Hickey Freeman for their continued commitment to doing business in Monroe County and I wish them the best as they begin this latest chapter in a great local success story."
Matt Hurlbutt President & CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise said, "We are happy that Hickey Freeman will grow in Rochester, NY. Thanks to tremendous collaboration with our economic development partners, the Hickey Freeman senior leadership team found the skilled workforce and resources necessary to support their operation here in Rochester, NY."
Gary Bonadonna Jr, Manager of the Rochester Regional Joint Board, Workers United said, "I applaud ESD for supporting Hickey Freeman. This is not just another factory, and this is not just another job. This is an iconic business with a strong labor union representing its employees. Our Union and Hickey Freeman have 100+ years of history and is the finest example of a true labor-management partnership. This support will help to ensure the job security of 400 union members and adding more in the near future. Hickey Freeman workers have committed their lives to this factory and take tremendous pride in their craft and making the best men's suits in the country. This is an incredible day for Workers United and Hickey Freeman."
For more information about Hickey Freeman, click here.