Obama Suit Maker Marks Anniversary of Close Call

Hartmarx forced into bankruptcy protection last year after lenders cut it off

Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 PM CDT
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Obama Suit Maker Marks Anniversary of Close Call

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Workers at a Chicago-based company that made suits for President Barack Obama are celebrating that it's been a year since their jobs were saved.

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Workers at a Chicago-based company that made suits for President Barack Obama are celebrating that it's been a year since their jobs were saved.

Hartmarx Corp. was forced into bankruptcy protection last year after lenders cut it off.  Its creditors had pushed for liquidation, but state officials and workers had threatened a sit-in. 

The company was sold in June to Britain-based Emerisque Brands and SKNL North America BV.

While the Des Plaines factory was saved, other Hartmarx facilities, including one in Rock Island, were closed.  The Des Plaines location added 40 jobs since last year.

On Wednesday, workers ate picnic-style lunches on the lawn at the factory in Des Plaines.

"This is really a celebration of an entire team of people," said CEO Doug Williams, according to the Daily Herald.  "This is the first step of many and we've got to be sharp everyday."

State Treasurer and Democratic senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias was one of the leaders who leaned on Wells Fargo last year.

"We fought hard to keep Hartmarx open. We fought hard to keep other companies open," he said Wednesday, according to ABC 7 Chicago. "I'm hopeful and optimistic we can go back to the Quad Cities, and hopefully in a few months and a few years, maybe get that place going again."

Hartmarx made a tuxedo, topcoat and suit for Obama's inauguration. It also made the suit Obama wore election night.

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