The New Era Cap Company has been manufacturing its caps in the United States for 90 years. We are very proud of our longstanding commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing, something our main industry competitors long ago abandoned.
Like many other companies, we have been forced to re-evaluate our entire business operations as a result of the global recession. And we have taken steps to manage costs and improve efficiencies across all parts of the company: marketing, corporate, brand design, sales and distribution.
Our manufacturing operations have also been part of our business review. The recession has reduced overall consumer demand for our caps and it has hurt the small independent retailers who helped support our domestic custom-order business. We have seen a number of these "independents" close over the last year or watched them get bought up by large retailers.
During this challenging period, we have tried to keep as many of our employees working in our U.S. facilities for as long as possible through the building of stock product to a point where we now have significant levels of excess inventory.
Unfortunately, we can no longer put off the difficult decision that we're faced with and we have advised our employees and our unions of our plan to consolidate our U.S. manufacturing operations from three facilities into one.
We believe that as tough as this decision is, it will enable us to continue to do apparel manufacturing in the U.S. with a unionized workforce in the future.
We recognize the significant impact that the consolidation is going to have on our employees and the communities where our plants are located. New Era is committed to doing everything we can to lessen that impact and assist our employees through this very difficult process.