Old shirt factory focus of renovation in Salem

Old shirt factory focus of renovation in Salem
The Manhattan Shirt Mill will be turned into the home of New Collar Goods and owners Jon and Deana Ketchum

After being inspired by an individual in Denver, Colorado, who flipped an old factory into a business, Jonathan and Deana Ketchum have journeyed back to Washington County to purchase and operate their manufacturing business out of the former Manhattan Shirt Shop.

Jon and Deana Ketchum

Taking over the 5 Park Place brick building in Salem, the couple’s business, New Collar Goods, set to open in mid-November, will focus on creating custom, homemade furniture (primarily tables) that encompass the “plain, simple” elements of the Shaker aesthetic.

“A table represents something in the house, an anchor,” Deana Ketchum said. “Each piece is completely unique.”

Touching on the transition from the midwest to upstate New York, Jon and Deana feel 100% confident that their vision and design will pan out.

“Being in different markets, being in Denver (for 11 years) is very different from being here, but I think we were really well supported in that area and people really love what we make,” Deana Ketchum said. “I think this building offers a lot of options.”

The first floor of the building will serve as the workshop and assembly of furniture once machinery is moved in and the newly-poured concrete is cured.

“We design all of our own furniture on this (idea) that we would want in our own house, and fortunately that aesthetic appeals to the demographic we used to sell to. And I don’t think that’s going to change too much,” Jon Ketchum said.

Both Jon and Deana were incredibly impressed by the main building’s structural integrity, which has connecting posts reinforced with steel that keep the walls and ceilings stable. The connecting side rooms are a different story that will require extra-tender love and care over the next few years.

“This is going to take years to fully see our vision,” Deana Ketchum said. “The out-buildings need a lot of work so we’re not focusing on that right now.”

Some needed requirements are the replacement of 98 single-paned leaded glass windows of the main building, the construction of the living quarters and the installation of HVAC.

Jon and Deana Ketchum walk through the second floor of the main building at the Manhattan Shirt Mill. The couple admire the space that will be used for photography of finished products and the structural integrity of the building.

33 feet wide and 100 feet long, the first floor of the historic workshop will serve as the factory room where the creation, assembly and finishing touches will be applied on distinct pieces of soon-to-be home staples.

Close to 20 woodworking and metal machines will be moved into the first floor of the facility after the newly placed concrete floor is cured.

“We want to make our furniture but then also host classes,” Jon Ketchum said.

The entire second floor, highlighted by its six-over-six windows, will be used by the Ketchums as a showroom for their finished products and an area to take pictures that will be featured on their website of products that can be shipped straight to the consumer’s residence. A functioning elevator will make grocery runs upstairs much more efficient.

“More open-ended, not dedicated because we would love to make it an event space,” Jon Ketchum said.

The top floor of the main building will serve as the Ketchum’s, originally from Greenwich, living quarters and will have the potential of having a bed and breakfast area for visitors.

The third and final floor of the main building will serve as the living quarters for the Ketchum’s and will have potential to host bed and breakfast rooms in the future.

“We tend to throw ourselves into large challenges,” Deana Ketchum said. “To see the transformation, it’s going to be fun.”

The Ketchums said the main building was constructed in 1897, with the side buildings put up 40 years prior in the 1850s.

An elevator shaft pictured on the second floor. This will come in handy when moving finished products from the first floor to the second floor for photo shoots, and from the first floor to the third floor on grocery runs.

According to Washington County Image Mate Online, the entire building is on 0.89 acres on land assessed at $18,900 this year.

The full market value in 2021 is listed at $103,448, with an equalization rate of 57% (total assessed value of the municipality divided by the total market value of the municipality according to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance), thus bringing the total assessment value to $60,000.

Salem supervisor Sue Clary is thrilled to see another bright-eyed couple return to Salem to carry out a dream of establishing a literal “cornerstone” of the community, sitting on the corner of Salem just off State Route 22.

“They’re not the first young couple that’s come back to town and are keeping our community motivated,” Clary said. “My personal feeling is, having seen their website and their design, they know their product well.”

Clary added that in 1985, she and her husband renovated their house which serves as a historical timepiece before it was awarded to the town. Many memories have been cherished there, and she can envision more developing in the downtown area of Salem.

With revitalization efforts taking place at Jacko’s Corner, the Central House, Fort Salem Theater and the consistent presence of Salem Art Works and the Hudson Headwaters mobile van, Clary is “excited” to observe the transition period in her town.

“I’m just amazed by the energy, the working together and the common purpose,” she said. “I’m excited to see what it looks like in five years.”

To view examples of New Collar Goods’ finished products, go to https://www.newcollargoods.com/