FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Vera Bradley announced Tuesday it will close its manufacturing facility located on Adams Center Road in New Haven in early May and possibly sooner.
The maker of women’s handbags, accessories and other items employs 250 people at the plant. Some of those employees will be able to transfer to other positions within the company and those who can’t will be offered severance packages according to a news release issued by Vera Bradley.
The company blamed the move on higher production costs in the United States and indicated approximately five percent of its products are manufactured there.
“However, it costs approximately 90% more to manufacture goods domestically than in overseas factories, and our domestic manufacturing costs have continued to rise year over year. Over the last several months, we have been working hard to figure out how to run our operations more efficiently. After careful analysis and consideration, we concluded that closing this facility is the right long-term financial decision for the Company as a whole. This was not an easy decision to make,” said Robert Wallstrom, Chief Executive Officer of Vera Bradley.
In the news release announcing the closure, Vera Bradley indicated that even with the plant closure, the company will still employ about 630 people in the Fort Wayne area and a total of 2,300 in the United States. Vera Bradley began manufacturing items at the New Haven plant in 2009. The company itself was founded in 1982 and has made a name for itself aside from its manufactured goods by funding breast cancer research.
Upon being informed of the plant closing, New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald issued the following statement:
“The City of New Haven is of course deeply saddened to hear the news that 246 people will no longer be working at the Vera Bradley facility located on Adams Center Road. We stand ready to work with our partners at Work One, and GFW, Inc. as we find ways to help the families affected by the closure. We will work aggressively to market and find a company to fill the campus.”