LEBANON, Tenn. – Hartmann has been making leather luggage for 135 years. For roughly the last half-century it's been based in Lebanon, but the storied luggage maker's next step will be leaving a place where it's made such an impact.
According to filings with the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Massachusetts-based Samsonite bought Hartmann in July eliminating 93 positions here.
"It's not going to be here and those people from surrounding areas will not have that to come to anymore," said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto who hates to see nearly one hundred people lose their jobs later this year. "It's tough. Especially in our economy as it is today. We want to get our people to work."
Hutto also hates to lose what's become so much more than just corporate headquarters, but also a major icon in middle Tennessee.
"Tradition is hard to break. They'll be somebody else as always that seems to come in and take people's places, but you still hate to lose those icons," he said.
Hartmann officials tell NewsChannel 5 some employees have already moved or been offered jobs with Samsonite in the Northeast. Some manufacturing jobs will stay here until later this fall before moving to Jacksonville, Florida.
As operations here start to dwindle, Hutto knows no matter what other jobs people at Hartmann get Lebanon will never be the same.
"It's a piece of our history lost," he said. "Someone else will come in, but you can never replace Hartmann Luggage."
Hutto tells us the news isn't all bad. As leather luggage maker moves away he says there are other companies planning expansions in Wilson County. The mayor couldn't name any of those companies yet, but says 300 brand new jobs are on the horizon.
Wilson County has the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the state at 7.0%.