Renowned clothing manufacturer acquires former Hickey Freeman facility

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The renowned clothier Tom James Company’s acquired the 112-year-old former Hickey Freeman manufacturing facility, which will be recognized and branded as Rochester Tailored Clothing. Tom James will utilize the skilled workforce to produce tailored suits for other brands, as well as its own clothing line at the North Clinton Avenue facility in the City of Rochester. As part of the acquisition, Tom James will retain 200 jobs previously at risk if the factory closed. It has also and has committed to growing employment on site to 245 net jobs over the next five years. 

The Hickey Freeman Tailored Clothing factory was struggling and running out of capital to continue operations. Tom James Company was approached to consider acquiring the assets and establishing operations at the factory. Tom James then committed to acquiring the facility’s assets and to continue to operate the downtown retail factory store. To ensure the factory’s future, New York State is providing up to $7 million over the next five years through the regionally designed Upstate Revitalization Initiative to support the company’s success. The total project cost of the acquisition, capital investments and upgrades to the facility has been placed at $15 million. 

Founded in 1966, the Tom James Company is a made to measure clothing manufacturer headquartered in Tennessee with factories in 8 other states.  The company employs 3,000 workers globally, with locations in the U.S, Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands. The company is 100% employee-owned and is the largest custom clothing manufacturer in the world. The Rochester factory will mark the company’s 10th domestic facility.

In addition to the Tom James operation, in August of 2022, Empire State Development also provided a $2.5 million Regional Council Capital Grant to Home Leasing, LLC to support the reuse of part of the site for senior housing. That project is being spearheaded by NYS Homes and Community Renewal and is called “Tailor Square”. The project will convert part of the historic four-story manufacturing building home into 134 affordable apartments, including 45 homes for seniors in need of supportive services. The energy-efficient design will incorporate geothermal and photovoltaic solar technology to manage the heating and cooling systems.

Wednesday’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. More information is available here.