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Letter: New Era should reconsider shutting down Derby plant

Buffalo, New York, the proud home of New Era Cap Company. No truer words were ever spoken especially in my house. My father Walter Domras was one of the first employees of New Era.

His uncle Erhart Koch started the business in the early 1900s. My father considered it the family business and went to work there as a teenager after the death of his own father.

My dad spent 50-plus years at New Era where he learned every aspect of the business from the actual sewing of caps, cutting of fabric, salesman and even a buyer of fabric.

My children used to love to hear the stories of his experiences. Since both my sons were baseball card collectors and little league players they knew of the baseball legends my dad spoke of. He told them of his meeting Babe Ruth and of how he personally fit a cap for Honus Wagner. Apparently, Wagner had a rather oddly shaped head that never allowed a regular cap to fit correctly. When we visited Cooperstown with the kids one of the older shop keepers even remembered my dad much to the delight of his grandchildren.

My father met and married my mother at New Era.

Together they put almost 100 years in at the company. There was never a fear of plant closings or of New Era leaving town. New Era was born in Buffalo and everyone who worked there including many of the area’s newest immigrants were proud to be there.

I remember the joy and pride we all felt at the opening of the Derby plant. It seemed to say New Era is growing and will be around for the long term.

To leave this area now as it rebuilds itself into a thriving community is a tragedy. Buffalonians are proud of New Era and the part it plays in the history of Buffalo. Help us keep it here. Please reconsider your decision.

Joanne Miecznikowski


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