Updated: 06/18/2014 8:42 PM
Created: 06/18/2014 8:31 AM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press
A western New York shoe manufacturer that has been in business since the Civil War era is shutting down operations, putting 72 people out of work.
P.W. Minor and Sons Inc. in the city of Batavia filed a notice with the state Department of Labor that it plans to shut down.
Many residents say the shoe company has been viewed as a very prestigious trademark in the community.
Lois Gerace of Bob Harris Realty says they were like a family to the community, and a Batavian success story.
“Most of their employees came from the Batavia area, and many of those employees were with them for several years,” said Gerace.
That includes her uncle, who started at the company when he was 16 and retired when he was 90 years old. He once took her to work.
“It was pretty exciting to go into the factory and see how the shoes were made, but also to realize that someone was actually hand-cutting that leather,” said Gerace.
According to the company's website, the two Minor brothers, veterans of the Civil War, were returning to their upstate home in 1867 when they came up with the idea to start a company that made hand-crafted shoes and boots for men and women.
It is unknown exactly why the company is closing. A message left with the company Wednesday morning wasn't immediately returned.
Batavia City Manager Jason Molino says the company’s rich history will be remembered.
“It’s definitely been a big player for the city and the county as a whole. It’s a family owned business, and they’ve been great contributors and partners for the entire Genesee County area, so we’re certainly sad to see them leave,” said Molino.
Also because of the 72 people who will be out of a job. Several of them are close friends of Lois Gerace.
“They’re very upset about losing a job, as anyone would be, and they’re nervous about finding a new job and starting a new career,” said Gerace.
The company says it plans to close on September 1.