The HMX Group, Inc. has filed a notice with the U.S. Department of Labor that the plant might close. The decision would impact about 431 employees. HMX has a total of 502 employees between its Rochester and New York City sites. HMX has filed for bankruptcy protection, which means that it will need to find new owners for its subsidiaries in order to ease the economic burden. HMX CEO Doug Williams says they have selected the Authentic Brands Group as their stalking horse bidder. They expect to close on a deal within the next 60 days, so Williams says there is minimal risk of the Rochester plant closing.
"There's nothing that makes me think they are going to shutdown that operation completely. I don't think that is going to happen," said Doug Hendee, Brighton Securities.
That doesn't mean everybody's job is safe.
"To say there would be zero downsizing would be strong and ill-advised," said Hendee.
Analysts say there's value in the well-known Rochester name.
"I would not hang this on Hickey Freeman. Hickey Freeman is a well-known brand. It's a well-respected brand. You may still have people who will only buy Hickey Freeman suits, so the brand I don't think is the problem at all. They make quality and there is nothing wrong with that brand," said Hendee.
New York Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter have both issued statements:
"I have helped save this company from liquidation twice, am in close contact with company executives, and will stand shoulder to shoulder once again with Rochester's Hickey Freeman workers over the coming weeks to ensure any new owner commits to preserve Hickey Freeman's Rochester factory and its workers," Schumer said.
"The actions currently underway by Hickey's parent, HMX group, are designed to preserve the iconic Hickey Freeman brand and retain 1,300 American jobs, 400 of which are in Rochester. My commitment to the 400 Rochester-based employees, their families and Hickey Freeman will never waver, and I'm looking forward to meeting with senior management to work together on the company's future," Slaughter said.
If a new owner is not found and secured, the Hickey Freeman plant could close by the end of the year.
Senator Chuck Schumer will hold a rally Monday to help save the plant and more than 400 local jobs.