One week after announcing it would lay off dozens but remain open, Batavia shoe manufacturer P.W. Minor LLC shut its doors on Friday.
The company on Sept. 24 filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with the state Department of Labor noting a possible plant layoff or closing that would affect 42 to 82 of its staffers. On Sept. 28, the footwear manufacturer confirmed it would close its Goodyear welt manufacturing line as part of a business operation restructuring that will focus on the company’s core market.
But on Oct. 5, P.W. Minor amended its WARN filing, stating that the 150-year-old Genesee County firm was closing its plant that day, putting 82 people out of jobs. Several calls to the company Oct. 5 were unanswered, as was an email to Brian Benedict, P.W. Minor vice president of sales.
“Our focus through this entire process has been on our employees’ well-being. We want to thank them for their dedication, loyalty and hard work,” CEO Hundley Elliotte said in a news release Sept. 28. “We would also like to thank the New York State Department of Labor, the Genesee County Workforce Development Board and the local business community for their responsiveness and offers to help get our affected employees back to work as soon as possible. When the time is appropriate in our business cycle, we will re-engage our Goodyear Welt manufacturing capabilities.”
P.W. Minor was acquired in February by Tidewater + Associates, an investment firm with offices in Delaware and California. P.W. Minor CEO Peter Zeliff transitioned to the board, while Elliotte, a member of Tidewater’s leadership team, stepped in as managing CEO.
“As an organization, Tidewater + Associates charter is to ‘Grow Good’,” Elliotte said when the acquisition was finalized. “We believe there are significant opportunities to scale P.W. Minor’s social and environmental benefits through its current core brands and to embark on new brand developments. The organization’s legacy of craftsmanship and capabilities to deliver product sustainably can be leveraged to expand and grow the brand base. There is extraordinary potential to create comfortable and protective product while also being a champion for sustainability in the footwear world.”
P.W. Minor was founded in 1867 by brothers Peter and Abram Minor, who had returned from the Civil War with the knowledge of how important well-made shoes were. Minor Brothers Boots and Shoes was located in Interlaken, Seneca County, and moved to Springville, Erie County, prior to the turn of the century.
A second location in Batavia opened during the 1890s. During the decades that followed, P.W. Minor continued to expand its shoe lines and product offerings. By the 2000s, P.W. Minor had expanded its production to Asia.
The shoe company, which had been led through the years by five generations of Minor family members, was shaken by the 2008 recession and production fell. Zeliff purchased the company out of bankruptcy in 2014.
In an attempt to turn the company around, Zeliff brought back all off-shore manufacturing to Batavia, and the company in 2016 rebranded and began selling its first new shoe in several years, the Airloft Collection.
P.W. Minor was the second oldest footwear manufacturer in the U.S. and the maker of orthopedic and diabetic athletic, dress and casual shoes.
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