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Sweater maker weighs sites in New Jersey, Long Island

Marisa Fumei-South, president of Two-One-Two New York inside

Marisa Fumei-South, president of Two-One-Two New York inside her factory in Glendale on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

A manufacturer of women's knit sweaters is weighing whether to open a factory on Long Island or in New Jersey, executives said.

Two-One-Two New York Inc., based in Manhattan, must by Sept. 30 move the production operation it has had in Glendale, Queens, for 17 years because it cannot obtain a new building lease.

Marisa Fumei-South, company president, said that she's looked at sites in Nassau and Suffolk counties and in New Jersey. She said she hopes to rent a vacant 60,000-square-foot building in Edgewood but needs tax breaks from both Suffolk and New York State.

The $1.4 million project would keep 50 factory jobs in New York State and create another 75 over three years. Five people work at Two-One-Two's office and showroom on Broadway in Manhattan.

Records show that employees now earn, on average, $45,455 per year.

"We need to move our factory," Fumei-South said last month. "And we see a tremendous opportunity to expand our business."

She asked the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency for help on July 21 and three days later was offered $761,460 in savings over 15 years. Most of the incentive would come from lower property taxes.

A spokesman for Empire State Development, the state's primary business-aid agency, said last month it had received Two-One-Two's application for assistance and would endeavor to keep the company from leaving.

Two-One-Two produces women's sweaters in the United States for major retailers such as Charlotte Russe, dressbarn, J.C. Penney, Lane Bryant, rue 21 and Stein Mart. The sweaters are made from domestic yarn and sewn in the United States.

"We compete with what's being done overseas, but we make everything here," Fumei-South told the IDA's board of directors.

She also said domestic production allows her to supply retailers more quickly than rivals using factories in China and other foreign countries.

In Edgewood, Two-One-Two hopes to expand its plant to include sewing, which now is performed by subcontractors elsewhere in the United States. Fumei-South said, "We would still use them, but we would do sewing as well, because we anticipate having more business."

Carol Schultz, the company's controller and Fumei-South's sister, said there were few sweater makers left in New York State. "We're a dinosaur," she said. "But this is successful business."

Schultz also said it was likely that most of the company's 50 employees in Queens would follow their work to Suffolk. The proposed plant is near the Long Island Rail Road station in Deer Park.

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