Handbag maker Vera Bradley's suppliers to close, lay off workers

March 14, 2008 6:54:12 AM PDT
Three Fort Wayne companies that provide products to handbag maker Vera Bradley Designs Inc. will close their doors, putting over 500 people out of work. The companies' majority owner, Robert Hinty, says the companies lost their contracts to sew handbags and accessories for Vera Bradley.

Hinty told officials he plans to close the last of his operations by the end of September, putting 537 mostly hourly employees out of work.

A Vera Bradley spokeswoman says the company is bringing its domestic sewing work inside the company. She says the company expects to hire over 500 seamstresses by early 2009.