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CONVERSE TO OPEN NEW ALL STAR PLANT IN MISSION, TEXAS: NEW U.S. MANUFACTURING FACILITY EXPECTED TO BE ON-LINE IN MARCH, 1994

 MISSION, Texas, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Converse(R) President Gib Ford today announced the company will open a second U.S. athletic shoe manufacturing facility in Mission, Texas for the world famous Chuck Taylor(R) All Star. Ford stated that the total manufacturing capacity of the 56,000 square foot facility will be 3.6 million pairs of shoes annually, employing over 300 local residents.
 "While the plant will initially employ some 150 people by the end of 1994, producing close to one million pairs of the All Star(R), we expect the Mission facility to reach its maximum capacity in early 1995," Ford said. "When our employment levels reach 300 at a salary base of some $4.5 million, the Converse facility will be contributing approximately $28 million to the local economy."
 Converse has signed a five-year sub-lease with the K-Mart Corporation for a former K-Mart building at the intersection of Bryan Road and Business 83 in Mission to open this new U.S. facility. Pending approval of standard business permits, the new facility is expected to be operational by March 1994.
 "Converse is opening the Mission facility to supplement the All Star and other American-made canvas products manufactured in our Lumberton, N.C. plant, which produces some 10.5 million pairs annually," Ford continued. "As a result of the exceptionally strong global demand for the Converse All Star products, we have been searching for an additional manufacturing facility in the United States because of the important 'Made in America' cachet of the All Star. The Mission, Texas location made sense because it is extremely close to our Reynosa, Mexico stitching plant which is right across the border."
 Minor modifications and alterations must be completed at the Mission building before the Converse manufacturing equipment is moved in. This is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
 Converse has shipped more than 20 million pairs of the North Carolina-made All Star sneakers over the past two record-breaking years, with some 50 percent of the product exported to international markets. By year end, Converse will have shipped more than 530 million pairs of the Chuck Taylor All Star since the shoe was first made 76 years ago in 1917. Worldwide, Converse employs some 3,150 individuals, with 1,500 employees in its Lumberton, N.C. plant, over 700 employees in the Reynosa facility, and a planned employment level of 300 people in Mission.
 "Converse is very pleased to be opening this new facility in Mission," Ford said. "There is an excellent work force here which is ready and willing to work and the proximity to our Reynosa plant makes this an easy business decision. Everyone in Mission and McAllen, Texas, has been extremely cooperative and helpful during this process and we look forward to being a good corporate citizen in this community."
 Converse is the largest U.S. manufacturer of athletic shoes and is the official shoe of the National Basketball Association (NBA), USA Basketball, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA).
 -0- 11/10/93
 /CONTACT: Jennifer Murray, 508-664-7521, or Ellen Pulda, 508-664-7522, both of Converse/


CO: Converse ST: Texas, Massachusetts IN: HOU SU:

JL-DJ -- NE014 -- 2895 11/10/93 15:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 10, 1993
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