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Schenectady handbag maker files for bankruptcy

Schenectady handbag maker files for bankruptcy

A Schenectady handbag company that closed up shop at the end of 2014 has filed for Chapter 7 bankrup
Schenectady handbag maker files for bankruptcy
The former home of Monet Handbags at 131 State Street in Schenectady is seen on Friday, January 16, 2015.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

A Schenectady handbag company that closed up shop at the end of 2014 has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Monet Handbags, a design-your-own-handbag company that manufactured its bags in Schenectady, had $2,743 in assets and $901,228 in liabilities when it closed in December, according to a March 27 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York.

Founded in 2005 by Trish Rost as Madison Handbags, the company changed its name last summer as part of a rebranding effort. But it was too little, too late for the company, which relied on direct selling through home parties.

The company relocated from Troy to the former Girl Scouts building in downtown Schenectady in the summer of 2012. Rost purchased the property at 131 State St. for $365,000. With about 40 employees in Schenectady producing anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 handbags a week and about two dozen independent contractors sewing bags at home, the company was producing more than 80,000 bags a year in 2012.

But by 2014, the previously multimillion-dollar company had just $1.2 million in income, down from $1.98 million the year before, according to court documents.

The company ended operations Dec. 31, and Rost sold the property to Tony Hynes, who said he would move a small woodworking shop called Halfmoon Works into the building. The shop employs young adults with special needs.

As of March 27, Monet Handbags had upward of 50 creditors. A creditors’ meeting has been scheduled for May 4 at 9:30 a.m. in the Leo W. O’Brien Federal Building in Albany.

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