Schoeneman to close warehouse

August 23, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Sun Staff Writer

J. Schoeneman Inc., a 105-year-old manufacturer of menswear, will close its Owings Mills distribution center and move that work to its main factory in Chambersburg, Pa.

The decision will move 55 jobs out of state. But Schoeneman said its headquarters, which employs 145 people, will stay in Baltimore County at a yet undetermined site.

The action comes shortly after the state has suffered two other economic setbacks -- the announcement by London Fog Corp. that it will close three Maryland plants and lay off 700 workers by the end of October, and the decision by Starbucks Corp., a Seattle-based coffee chain, to build a 500-employee roasting and distribution plant in York, Pa., instead of in Harford County.

Adam J. Wasserman, deputy director of Baltimore County's Economic Development Department, said there was little government officials could have done to prevent Schoeneman from moving the operation.

"The clothing industry in this region has suffered over a long period of time," he said. "The reality is we are not in the board rooms where the decision are made."

However, Baltimore County is working with the company to find another corporate headquarters, Mr. Wasserman said. "They have indicated an interest and desire to stay here," he said.

Schoeneman, which is owned by Plaid Clothing Group Inc. of New York, specializes in manufacturing upscale men's suits, jackets and slacks that are sold under such brand names as Burberry, Christian Dior and Halston. The company has about $100 million in sales.

The company will shift its distribution operation to the Chambersburg plant during the next few months, and workers have been offered new positions at that location, said James J. Stankovic, president and chief executive officer of the company. "I wish they would all want to go," he said.

Its Reisterstown Road offices will continue to be the company's headquarters until next spring, said James F. Haneschlager, vice president of Human Resources for Plaid. By that time, the company hopes to have a new site for its headquarters and have sold the building it's now using, he said.

"It's important that we maintain as much of the embedded knowledge in the Baltimore area," Mr. Haneschlager said. "I will tell you that we will have a corporate headquarters and presence in the area, hopefully in Owings Mills."

The actions are part of a larger reorganization effort that includes the moving of a 150-person cutting operation in Wilmington, Del., to Chambersburg.

The 61-year-old factory in Chambersburg, which is in south central Pennsylvania, is the company's main manufacturing facility with 1,200 workers, he said.

"What really drove this was to improve the response time to our customers," he said.

The reorganization does not include the company's 100-person plant in Bel Air, which makes rainwear under the Christian Dior and Gleneagles brands.

Mr. Haneschlager said he did not know how many of the 55 affected distribution workers will want to move.

He said he did not know how many of the 145 people now employed at the headquarters in administrative and HTC maintenance positions would remain. Some may be shifted to posts in Chambersburg and Cincinnati, the headquarters of Schoeneman's sister firm, Palm Beach Co.

"A good percentage will remain," Mr. Haneschlager said.

Schoeneman has had its headquarters at the 200,000-square-foot building since the early 1960s after moving from Baltimore. During the Christmas season, the sprawling plant was a distinctive landmark with its full-sized wooden cutout of Santa's sleigh and reindeer.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.