Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gelman Bldg in the News – Nov. 14, 1963

Here's an article by noted local journalist Jack LaVriha that appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 14, 1963 – 50 years ago today. It's about the impending opening of the Joseph & Feiss Co. manufacturing plant in the Gelman Building (later known as the Gel-Pak building and currently the home of Lorain County Health & Dentristy) and includes a nice history of the building's use up to that point.


POWER FOR INDUSTRY – Ohio Edison workmen install a new pole for
a bank of three transformers to supply power to Lorain's newest industry,
Joseph & Feiss Co., clothing manufacturer, which will occupy the second
and third floors of the Gelman Building, 1201 Broadway, in background.
Feiss Co. Clothing Plant Scheduled Opening Soon

Lorain's newest industry, a branch plant of Joseph & Feiss Co. of Cleveland, manufacturers of men's and young men's clothing, will begin operations within two weeks.

A company spokesman said skilled textile workers are being hired and that the work force would be built up to 150 or possibly 200 people.

Meanwhile, considerable activity is taking place in preparation for the opening of the plant which will occupy the second and third floors of the Gelman Building, 1201 Broadway.

Sewing machines and equipment are being moved in from Cleveland every day.

Ohio Edison Co. has installed a new pole on which is being placed a bank of three transformers to supply electric power to the plant.

The building to be occupied by J&F was formerly used until 1959 by another clothing manufacturer, S. Weitz & Co. of Cleveland. It originally was built for Richman Brothers Co., another Cleveland clothing maker.

Nationally known, J&F has satellite plants similar to the one to open here in Utica, N. Y., and Harrodsburg, K.Y. Its new Utica plant is said to be one of the nation's most modern clothing factories.

Sport coats and suit jackets will be produced at the Lorain plant.

J&F receives its yard goods at the Cleveland plant where it will be cut for suit coats and sport coats before being sent to Lorain for finishing.

Then the jackets will be returned to the Cleveland plant where the trousers are made. Warehousing and distribution will be handled in Cleveland.

The firm expects to produce between 5,000 and 5,500 units a week in the Lorain plant.

Lorain was selected for the expanded operation because of the availability of skilled tailoring employees.

J&F has a two-year lease on the plant, with renewal options that could continue for 10 years.

Wow, those were the days when a big manufacturing plant would locate in Lorain because of its skilled workforce and instantly bring a couple hundred jobs to the area.

By the way, you can still buy a Joseph & Feiss suit. The brand is currently owned and available at the Men's Wearhouse.

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