Updated: 03/15/2013 2:10 PM
Created: 03/15/2013 1:58 PM WNYT.com
By: Bill Lambdin
Johnstown - When Townsend Leather Company President Jared Eckler tells new acquaintances what his company does, it surprises them. For decades we've been hearing that the glove makers and other leather processors have left Fulton County. It is true that a lot of the companies have closed or gone to various locations throughout the world. But Townsend Leather has been in Johnstown since 1969 and officials say it's not going anywhere. More than 125 employees here, turning out quality leather for corporate, aviation and high end hospitality demand. Eckler says, "We tell people we're an aerospace supplier so our customers are Bombardier, Gulfstream, Cessena." Congressman Bill Owens toured the operation on March 8th. This area of Fulton County is new to his district. Company officials told him business has been sort of slow lately. Anything he could do to help spur corporate and private aircraft sales would help since Townsend leather ends up in the plane interiors. Townsend could also use some assistance developing its area workforce, because although some of these jobs are manual labor, many workers use computers and other high tech tools. Owens says, "That is something I hear virtually any place I go. People have jobs for people. People are planning for the future, 5, 10 years out and we're not producing the right kinds of skill sets for businesses like this."