J.W. Hulme Company will stop in-house manufacturing and sell its St. Paul leather goods factory to Softline Brand Partners, company officials said Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.
The change will be a big one for the 113-year old J.W. Hulme.
The company, well known for high-quality and St. Paul-made leatherworks since its founding in 1905, will no longer make goods inhouse.
Instead, it will source materials from "a variety of high-quality manufacturers, including Softline," officials said.
J.W. Hulme CEO Claire Powell said during the last nine years, the company invested "significant capital" in the business and explored all options for possibly keeping manufacturing at the factory in St. Paul.
Options included "modernizing equipment, investing in increased marketing and taking on contract manufacturing work,” Powell said. “But despite these efforts, we’ve concluded that manufacturing in-house simply isn’t sustainable at our current scale.”
Once the acquisition is completed, Softline will consolidate J.W. Hulme's factory operations in St. Paul into its own shop in Minneapolis.
“This move will ensure that we will be able to continue to deliver on our brand promise of making heirloom-quality leather and canvas goods going forward,” Powell said.
It is not immediately known if or how many employees could be affected by the change.