Employees of Hardwick Clothes, Inc., received reassurance on Friday that Cleveland, Tn., businessman Allan Jones would continue his company’s efforts to buy the assets of the domestic suit maker.
“While we were disappointed with the amount the Court set as the reimbursement for the expenses we have incurred in the event we are not the successful bidder, we respect the very difficult decision the Court was forced to make in light of the Objection filed by the PBGC,” said Mr. Jones. “We accept Judge Rucker’s decision and plan to move forward in saving this company and its many loyal employees.”
Mr. Jones’ announcement came after the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation filed an objection to the proposed deal. Mr. Jones said the PBGC "refused to compromise in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and therefore put more than 220 jobs in jeopardy. Many of the jobs belong to third and fourth generation employees of Hardwick."
Mr. Jones maintained he is convinced Americans can still make suits profitably.
He said, “Hardwick is the oldest privately owned suitmaker in the USA – founded in 1880 in Cleveland, Tn. - and we are not giving up that longstanding tradition without a fight. Surprisingly, the PBGC is delaying and potentially threatening everything we are working to rebuild.
“From the hearing, it became obvious that the PBGC is strongly suggesting the idea of liquidation. We don’t feel closing down USA’s oldest suitmaker makes any sense.”
Mr. Jones maintained that with the right combination of leadership and capital, Hardwick will regain much of the business it has lost since the ‘80s.
“The biggest asset is not on the balance sheet,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s the 134 years of tradition and all the long-term employees. It’s hard to put a value on that. That’s what I’m placing my value on. The purchase price is just a drop in the bucket of what it will take to turn this company around.”