Updated: 08/14/2014 5:46 PM
Created: 08/14/2014 5:27 PM WHEC.com
By: Rebecca Fath
Almost 100 jobs in our area are staying put. P.W. Minor in Batavia was expected to close down after 150 years of service but now workers have been told the factory will remain open.
Just last week, the company was scheduled to close its doors for good but today there was a celebration at the 150-year-old factory.
"I'm overwhelmed with it." Overwhelmed with joy, Neva Forkey has worked here for almost 40 years. Today she's cutting leather and feeling thankful she's not looking for another job. “I cried a little bit out of joy. For years we've been in a slump worried about losing our jobs.”
Forkey is not worried anymore. Today they celebrated the future of the new P.W. Minor.
P.W. Minor Owner Peter Zeliff said, “We want to grow this company. We want to bring this factory back to where it was in its heyday. They were producing 1,200 pair of shoes here all through the 1990s. We're doing 100 pair a day now.”
The factory was failing until new, local owners took it over with help from a state incentive package.
P.W. Minor is one of the few remaining shoe manufacturers in the United States which is part of the reason why local leaders say this is huge for all of western New York.
Genesee County Legislature Chairman Raymond Cianfrini said, “Would love to see them become highly successful and let people know that we can still make quality goods in the U.S. and be able to sell them on the open market so I think it's great.”
Neva Forkey hopes it's here to stay. “Oh they're gonna keep us going. I'd like to be able to retire here.”
Owners hope to quickly create more than 200 jobs -- as many as there used to be back when business was booming.