Governor Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Schumer Announce Completion of Renowned Clothing Manufacturer Tom James Acquisition of Former Hickey Freeman Facility in Rochester

July 26, 2023

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Governor Kathy Hochul and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced the completion of renowned clothier Tom James Company's acquisition of the 112-year-old former Hickey Freeman manufacturing facility which will proudly be recognized and branded as Rochester Tailored Clothing. Tom James will utilize the highly skilled workforce to produce tailored suits for other brands as well as its own clothing line at the North Clinton Avenue facility in the City of Rochester. As part of the acquisition, Tom James will retain 200 jobs previously at risk had the factory closed and has committed to growing employment on site to 245 net jobs over the next five years.

"This agreement with the Tom James Company marks the start of a new chapter at the historic Hickey Freeman Building and will ensure that its legacy as an economic driver endures in Rochester," Governor Hochul said. "For more than a century, this facility has been Rochester's gateway to the world of fashion and an important source of stable, union jobs. Now, thanks to State investment and the support of the Majority Leader and partners at every level of government, Tom James will continue to make quality products and employ hundreds of workers in the heart of Rochester."

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said "It's official Rochester will continue its long tradition of making high quality suits, powered by our top notch union tailor workforce! This 112-year old factory is a Rochester institution - woven into the very fabric of the community - and that is why I've fought time and again to keep it in business whenever it faced challenges. Last month, after I had personally called the CEO to urge him to look at Rochester, I announced Tom James Company's plans to acquire this iconic factory, and today, I'm thrilled to announce that Tom James has officially closed on its purchase of this Rochester institution - not only providing stability for its 200 world-class union employees, but also adding additional jobs in the coming years. When I visited this Rochester facility a few years ago and walked the floor alongside the factory's hardworking employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, I committed to making sure their future was secure for years to come. Tom James Company, fueled by its own Workers United union workforce, has become an industry leader and is tailor-made to sew success now for Rochester's future. Now that the deal is officially closed, I'm excited to see what the future holds for this beloved Rochester factory and its hundreds of skilled Rochester union workers."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Rochester has long been home to a skilled workforce in the garment industry, and the storied history of the Hickey Freeman company inspires many with nearly 125 years of operations in the city. With the purchase of this factory by the Tom James Company, Rochester's days of Made-in-America suit manufacturing will live on. I'm grateful for the investment by Tom James to ensure that the region maintains quality, union jobs for nearly 200 workers at the North Clinton Ave. factory, and that the company intends to grow this workforce. This was a collective effort at all levels of government and local industry, and I am thankful for the efforts of Senator Schumer and Empire State Development to make this acquisition a reality."

Schumer and Hochul announced Tom James's plans to acquire the Rochester factory earlier this summer. This official closing comes after a personal appeal to Tom James CEO Todd Browne from the Majority Leader after the factory was put up for sale earlier this year. Schumer called on the company to move forward with plans to take over the factory and provide stability and growth for this long-time Rochester facility. Governor Hochul also directed Empire State Development to engage Tom James in discussions around State funding sources available to support the acquisition.

Read the full press release here.