A family-owned distributor of discounted clothing founded 77 years ago is set to close its doors this summer and lay off 79 workers on Long Island, blaming "supply chain issues and market conditions."
Ben Elias Industries Corp. and a sister company, Kenco Retail Inc., said in a state filing that the company would be closing on or before Aug. 4, resulting in job losses for 71 workers at their headquarters and main shipping hub in Inwood, located at 100 Inip Dr., and eight employees at a retail location in Valley Stream, located at 223 West Merrick Rd.
In addition to those locations, the company will be closing four locations in New York City, ending employment for 38 employees.
“It is with pride and sadness that we announce the closure of Ben Elias Industries after four generations and 77 wonderful years in business with our family, respected colleagues and employees,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “Supply chain issues and market conditions have made it exceedingly difficult to carry on our business.”
The company, founded in 1945 by Ben Elias on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, buys excess clothing from brands and manufacturers overseas and domestically, then sells them to discount retailers nationwide.
Kenco Retail is a separate retail business with common ownership with Ben Elias. The retail outfit does business as Famous Brands, and will also close later this summer.
Danielle Elias, the company’s director of operations and in-house counsel said that with shipping delays and overall lack of inventory, the company's finances have been hit hard.
“With the supply chain issues, if the full-price retailers are having trouble getting inventory on the floor, we were having that much more difficulty getting inventory,” Elias said.
“It’s just impossible to have any kind of workflow or cash flow when things are coming in 90 days behind," she said, adding that shipping costs have also become prohibitive.
The company said in its statement that it is working to develop transition programs for existing employees, some of whom have been with the business for 40 years.