This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
$1 buys you full access to ALL of TheStreet's Subscription Services! Learn More

112-year-old US Apparel Maker In Pa. To Close

"We knew that it was change or die," Meck said. "We had to reinvent ourselves."

Change or die. It became a way of life as Fessler bucked the odds and enjoyed years of double-digit growth.

So when retail sales took a nosedive amid the worst economic crisis in 75 years, Meck knew he had to pivot once more. Gathering his employees together, he told them: "Is it more important for half of you to work, or more important for all of you to go out of business?" Fessler laid off nearly half the workforce.

The smaller, leaner company was profitable for a while. But the good times didn't last. Sales plummeted again in 2010, and Meck could no longer cut his way to prosperity. He had to grow revenues while reducing Fessler's dependence on women's fashion. His team began working on new products and new markets, including a flame-resistant shirt for firefighters and utility workers that Meck said showed great promise.

But he needed time, and he needed money, and both were in short supply.

In the end, he couldn't find the cash. And a few months ago, the bank called Fessler's loan. The company was doomed.

Given its weak cash flow â¿¿ Fessler's sales were down 50 to 75 percent from their pre-recession peak of $25 million per year â¿¿ did it ever stand a chance?

Meck, a wily businessman with nearly four decades of experience, insisted Fessler could have survived had he found a willing lender.

"Very quickly it became clear that new regulations that were being placed on banks were crippling banks' ability to do business, and it didn't take along for that to rumble right down and hit us square in the face," he said.

Meck's lament about tightened credit is a common one among small- and medium-sized manufacturers, said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.

3 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,810.06 +91.06 0.51%
S&P 500 2,063.50 +10.75 0.52%
NASDAQ 4,712.97 +11.1030 0.24%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs