The Gleneagles clothing plant in Bel Air, quiet and dark since it shut down last summer, will be humming with the sound of sewing machines by Christmas, the plant's new owners say.
The purchase, announced Friday, of the Williams Street plant by J. Schoeneman Inc. should bring at least 125 jobs back to the plant that closed June 1.
"People who may have had no hope before could be back to work by Christmas," said Mark Wasserman, secretary of the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development, which contributed to the reopening with a $135,000 low-interest loan.
James J. Stankovic, president and chief executive officer of Schoeneman, said the company has already started interviewing for jobs and that as many as 75 former Gleneagles workers could be back at the plant by Christmas.
He expects the plant to employ 125 people by February.
More than 200 people lost their jobs when the Bel Air facility shut down June 1. Another 80 employed at the Gleneagles cutting and distribution facility in Towson were let go.
Schoeneman, which manufactures top-of-the-line men's clothing with labels such as Burberry, Dior and Halston, was founded in Baltimore 103 years ago. The company is now based in Owings Mills.
It has manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Massachusetts.
Company officials would not disclose the purchase price.
Mr. Stankovic said the Bel Air plant, which will retain the Gleneagles name, will resume production of men's rainwear.
It will eventually expand into other types of men's outerwear and sportswear, he said.
"This is definitely a good-news day for employees, for Harford County and for the Town of Bel Air," said County Executive
Eileen M. Rehrmann.
"Today, you can't do things without partnerships," she said, referring to the two-year loan package created by the state and local governments.
In addition to the $135,000 loan from DEED's Maryland Industrial and Commercial Redevelopment Fund, Harford County and the Town of Bel Air are contributing $7,500 each in low-interest loans.
DEED also will provide a $40,000 training grant for upgrading workers' skills and for new equipment.
Officials said the plant could begin operating again as early as thefirst week of December, although a contract with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers of America probably won't be finalized by then.
Union officials at Local 721, which represented 210 workers at the old Gleneagles plant, said Schoeneman has agreed to offer jobs to laid-off workers first.