Gleneagles plant set to reopen J. Schoeneman buys factory in Bel Air

November 21, 1992|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Staff Writer

J. Schoeneman Inc., the century-old clothing manufacturer founded in Baltimore, has bought the Gleneagles manufacturing plant in Bel Air, promising to bring 125 jobs back to a plant that has been closed since June 1.

In announcing the purchase yesterday, Schoeneman President James J. Stankovic said the company would begin hiring immediately, and the plant could be operating with a staff of 75 by Christmas.

Schoeneman bought the Bel Air plant for an undisclosed sum. Mr. Stankovic said the plant will resume production of top-name rainwear and will eventually expand into other types of men's outerwear, including jackets and sportswear.

Gleneagles Inc. ceased operations June 1, sending more that 300 people to the unemployment lines from its Bel Air and Towson plants. The Towson operation was not included in the purchase.

State and local officials praised the Bel Air purchase, calling it a prime example of corporate and government cooperation to restore jobs. The purchase was facilitated by a low-interest loan of $150,000 from state and local governments.

"This is a metaphor for what we're trying to do in Maryland," said Mark L. Wasserman, secretary of the Department of Economic and Employment Development, which provided $135,000 of the loan.

In addition, Harford County and the town of Bel Air are contributing $7,500 each as part of the two-year loan package.

DEED also has committed to a $40,000 training grant, which will to be matched by the company, for upgrading skills of the work force and for new equipment.

Mr. Stankovic said the operation, which will retain the Gleneagles name, will employ 125 by February.

The company's distribution facility is in Owings Mills. It also has a manufacturing plant in Chambersburg, Pa., and cutting operations inWilmington, Del.

Schoeneman, founded in Baltimore in 1889, manufactures clothing under license from such designers as Burberry's, Bill Robinson and Halston. It also makes private-label clothing for department and specialty stores.

Last March, Schoeneman landed an exclusive license to manufacture Christian Dior rainwear in the United States. The previous licensee was Hartmarx Corp., parent company of Gleneagles.

A number of former Gleneagles employees have filed applications with the firm, and the company says at least 25 laid-off workers already have been called in for interviews. "We'll probably have another 24 in again next week," said Louise Blake, personnel manager.

She said the plant could be back in operation the first week of December, although a contract with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers of America probably won't be finalized by then.

"We haven't gotten down to brass tacks yet," said Michael Konarski, aunion representative. "But we have worked with the Schoeneman company before, and we're confident we can work something out close to what we had with Gleneagles."

He said the average pay for former Gleneagles workers was $8 to $8.50 an hour, although some experienced workers were earning more than $13 an hour.

Mary Duncan, president of Local 721, which represented 210 workers at the old Gleneagles plant, said Schoeneman has agreed to offer jobs to laid-off workers before seeking employees elsewhere.

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