Opportunity Center welcomes first tenant

August 27, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Letterkenny Opportunity Center is getting its first tenant today in the form of a start-up clothing manufacturer named Excelsior.

A ceremonial lease signing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Letterkenny Army Depot's activity center.

Excelsior will occupy Building 9 at the depot, which is part of 1,500 acres the Army is transferring to Franklin County for industrial development.

"I think it's the beginning ... We're tremendously impressed with where we are today compared with other installations. We've made tremendous strides," said John Redding, vice-chairman of the Franklin County Reuse Committee.


Redding is also one of 15 members of the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority, which markets, leases and manages the industrial center.

Excelsior's owner, Charles Dempsey of Baltimore, Md., could not be reached for comment.

The new company is expected to begin operating in mid-October, manufacturing men's pants at first and then later making men's suit coats, according to Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp.

The company plans to hire 200 displaced workers from the J. Schoeneman Co., which plans to shut down at the end of next month, according to Ross and Schoeneman Plant Manager Charles Williams.

Workers at Schoeneman, a men's clothing manufacturer established in 1933, were notified of the company's plans to close last month. But Excelsior officials announced at the same time that they would be offered jobs at the new company.

"The project overall is a win for the displaced employees with the opportunity for most or all to retain jobs," Ross said.

The new company's move into the industrial center also helps "jump start" the Letterkenny reuse project, he said.

"This symbolizes the kind of potential that's available out at Letterkenny," Ross said.

Excelsior's move into the center is right on schedule with the authority's plans, Redding said.

Authority members also want to attract high-tech businesses to the center, he said.

The Chambersburg Area School District bought the Schoeneman property on East McKinley Street two years ago and has been leasing the space to the company ever since. The lease expires in November.

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