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New Era To Retain NY Plant, Close Alabama Facility

New Era Cap Co. - a Buffalo-based maker of Major League Baseball hats  - has chosen its western New York plant to survive as the company's sole U.S. production facility. A company plant in Demopolis, Alabama, will close later this year, while the production facility in Derby, N.Y., remains open. The Alabama and New York plants were put on notice in November that one would go as part of a reorganization made necessary by lower consumer demand brought about by the recession.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision," said Christopher Koch, chief executive of the family-owned company. "In the end, our decision to keep Derby open was based largely on the need to retain our most senior and experienced unionized employees."
The company also said the Demopolis plant, which employs 350 people, would have required extensive renovations to handle its role as the only U.S. production facility. New Era also has operations in Canada, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.
New York Gov. David Paterson applauded the decision; Empire State Development Corp. offered $3 million as part of a broad package of incentives to retain the Derby plant and its 330 jobs. The company also will get property tax relief and sales tax abatements from the town of Evans and Lake Shore School District and grants for electrical improvements from National Grid, among other benefits.

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