Production of NFL Caps Will Keep 250+ Employees At Derby Factory Working Year-Round; Announcement Ensures That “Made In America” Means “Made In Western New York”

Schumer: Today Is A New Era For WNY

During a visit to Derby, NY, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today joined New Era’s President and CEO, Chris Koch, to announce that New Era will begin manufacturing its first significant run of National Football League (NFL) fan hats, starting at the end of this month. Schumer explained that the Western NY plant is known primarily for its production of Major League Baseball (MLB) caps, as they have only produced small quantities of NFL caps over the years. Now, the production of NFL hats will be New Era’s first major line of NFL headwear manufactured at its Western NY plant. Schumer said this announcement is exciting news for the Buffalo area, as this new, significant production line will keep the roughly 250 employees at the Derby plant working year round, as the volume New Era is taking on for this special collection far surpasses anything the company has done for the NFL before.

“New Era has conquered the diamond, and now they’re ready for the gridiron. This production line will usher in a new era for the company – and it is a touchdown for the 250 local workers as well as the entire Western NY regional economy,” said Senator Schumer. “For years I’ve been a tireless advocate for keeping NFL football here in Western New York, and the decision to manufacture NFL caps here is yet another win that came from Buffalo’s economic revitalization playbook. Today’s announcement guarantees that for these caps, ‘Made in America’ means ‘Made in Western New York.’” 

Schumer said this significant run of NFL hats will help ensure the longevity of New Era’s factory in Derby and keep its workforce of 250 area residents working year round. With the success of their baseball caps, New Era has seen tremendous growth, leading to the addition of over a dozen large flagship stores globally, including one at their Buffalo headquarters. This new production line serves as an example of New Era’s commitment to expanding production in Western NY and supporting its current workforce.

The announcement comes just weeks after Buffalo-based New Era bought the naming rights to the Buffalo Bills’ stadium. Schumer stood alongside New Era CEO Chris Koch, who expressed New Era’s strong commitment to Western New York and Buffalo. On August 18, it was announced that the Bills’ stadium in Orchard Park would be renamed “New Era Field” in recognition of New Era’s strong global reputation and local roots. Schumer was also joined by representatives from Pegula Sports. After previous owner Ralph Wilson Jr. passed away in March 2014, Schumer played a pivotal role in ensuring the Bills stayed in Buffalo. Schumer understood that the Pegula family was Buffalo’s best chance to keep the Bills, and pushed the league to support their bid. He also lobbied the NFL to adopt a revenue-sharing arrangement that would make Western New York’s football team feasible.

Senator Schumer has a history of going to bat for New Era and the investment it brings to Erie County. In addition to being instrumental to keeping the Bills in Buffalo, Schumer has spent years fighting to combat the counterfeiters who sell knock-off New Era caps and apparel in China and elsewhere overseas, threatening the Buffalo company. These counterfeiters prevent New Era from increasing its revenue and furthering its positive impact on Western New York. In 2012, Schumer fought to end the scourge of Chinese counterfeits that were decimating New Era’s revenue and employment by bringing together New Era, federal enforcement officials and the Chinese government to shut down fraudulent websites and factories. As a result of his efforts, New Era seized 850,000 fake caps and 120,000 fake pieces of clothing with a total “removal value” of over $94 million.

Schumer was joined by Chris KochCEO of New Era Cap Co.

“We're extremely proud to be producing this specific collection of caps for the NFL in our Derby, N.Y., facility. Moreover, we're proud to have our world headquarters in Buffalo and to have sustained this manufacturing facility in Western New York for almost 60 years. We are thrilled Senator Schumer could join us in celebrating today. He has always been supportive of the workers here at New Era, and we look forward to continuing to work with him,” said Chris Koch, CEO of New Era.

Founded in 1920, New Era started producing caps at the Derby plant in 1958. The Derby facility served as the company’s headquarters until 2006, when the corporate headquarters moved to downtown Buffalo. Today, the Derby facility manufactures approximately 4 million caps per year and employees over 250 people. Since producing their first baseball cap in 1934, New Era has become the exclusive supplier of on-field caps to MLB and its minor league affiliates. Recently New Era became the official sideline cap for the NFL.

New Era has continually stood by its commitment to keep the workforce strong in Buffalo. In 2010, at the urging of Senator Schumer, the company chose to keep its Derby facility open even in the face of recession citing workforce and cost-effectiveness of Western New York as their rationale. Since then, New Era has only continued to grow, hiring 100 new employees in 2011, and expanding its brand beyond headwear into cap accessories, wallets, bags, sunglasses and other items, and recently opening its newest Flagship Store in New Orleans.


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