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Letterkenny lands apparel manufacturer

September 14, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - An upscale men's apparel manufacturer has reached an agreement with the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority to open a plant in the Cumberland Valley Business Park.

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The authority and Individualized Apparel Group, a manufacturing division of Tom James Co. of Brentwood, Tenn., announced the agreement at Monday's meeting of the authority, according to Franklin County Area Development Corp. Executive Director L. Michael Ross.

The company agreed to a $300,000 lease-to-purchase agreement on a 90,000-square-foot warehouse at Letterkenny Army Depot.

"Tom James is a large national and international retailer of men's clothing," Ross said Tuesday. Individualized Apparel Group also owns the Franklin Clothing Co. Inc. in Shippensburg, Pa., he said.

"This will not affect the Shippensburg operation," Ross said.

Ross, a member of the authority's board of directors, said the company plans to move into a portion of Building 6 immediately and use it for distribution. The Army occupies half of the building, but will move out in the next four to six months, he said.

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The company will begin manufacturing operations after the Army moves out. Ross said the company will probably make suit linings among other operations, including making swatches for catalogs that Tom James representatives use for office and house calls.

"They do a full range of men's suits and accessories," including suits, ties and briefcases, Ross said.

Ross said he expects the plant to employ 50 or more people in a few months, with the number of jobs eventually increasing to more than 100. A representative of the company could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The plant is across the street from the former Excelsior Manufacturing Co., which closed in June with the loss of about 160 jobs. Ross said Individualized Apparel Group has purchased the assets of Excelsior, but negotiations on the site began before Excelsior closed.

Individualized Apparel has negotiated with the area development corporation for possible assistance through some state programs, although "They're moving ahead with or without any kind of incentive program," Ross said.

Excelsior had received a $200,000 low-interest loan through the Letterkenny Opportunity Center Fund and still owes about $190,000 on it, Ross said. The authority is negotiating with Excelsior to reach a settlement on the balance, he said.

Cumberland Valley Business Park is being developed on 1,500 acres of Letterkenny Army Depot land being turned over to the authority after a 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision to downsize the depot.

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