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151-year-old Batavia shoemaker P.W. Minor may lay off all employees

P.W. Minor, a Batavia shoemaker that opened for business just after the end of the Civil War, is warning that it could lay off all of its 82 employees, according to a notice filed with the New York State Department of Labor on Monday.

The company, which makes leather boots, orthopedic shoes, sneakers and other footwear for men and women, said in the filing that it could fire as few as 42 employees or all 82 of its employees. State law requires companies to file a notice with the Labor Department if they are planning a mass layoff within two months, although the business can alter its plans later.

The company sent all of its workers home for the week on Monday, with pay, as executives searched for investors for its product lines, the Daily News of Batavia reported.

In 2014, with 50 employees and sales dwindling, the factory had been slated to close. It was then bought by Andrew Young and Peter H. Zeliff, who agreed to keep the company in business and did increase production and sales.

Batavia Shoes purchased the assets of the company for $2.85 million. Empire State Development provided performance-based Excelsior Job Program tax credits in return for job creation. P.W. Minor also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans, grants and tax incentives to assist in its $3.6 million capital improvement plan.

Last year, the company experienced a round of layoffs. In February, Zeliff sold the company to a Delaware-based company, Tidewater + Associates.

No one answered the phone at the company on Tuesday morning. It was originally founded by two brothers in 1867 shortly after they returned from fighting in the Civil War. It is one of just a few remaining shoe manufacturers in the United States and the oldest company in Genesee County.

Restoring a shoemaker’s soul

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