Women owned, established in 2002.
The Cooperativa industrial Creación de la Montaña in Utuado, PR, is the factory were Concalma handbag line is manufactured since 2006. For the past 11 years I have gone to the factory weekly to check on the production, but this week the trip was different. We had just been hit very hard by hurricane María and did not know what had happened to the factory. Luckily the factory building was not damage at all by the hurricane and the power is back so we would be up and running with our production Monday.
We are also working towards bringing other private labels to manufacture at the coop.
Cooperativa Industrial Creación De La Montaña was created in 2002. It was formed after the factory workers of two manufacturing facilities Pempco and Ranger closed. The displaced employees got together, and founded Cooperativa Industrial Creación De La Montaña to save their jobs and create others.
They are 10 cooperative women partners and the coop was started with local capital. The factory is in its 15th year of operations and has served as an employment hub for the municipality of Utuado and other municipalities near by.
The Cooperativa Industrial de la Montaña has proven a resilient business model in the past 10 years even in the face of a crumbling economy. The factory is an apparel manufacturer of mostly uniforms for public workers like Ama (PR public transportation) , Police of PR and Electric Authority amongst others, Concalma is a private label client.
The Concalma handbag line has been manufactured here since 2006. When I approached the women’s coop I was looking to raise awareness of fair trade, local design, local production and to assure cultural diversity plus to promote the local economy by creating jobs. Ever since, we at Concalma have enjoyed and embraced the big challenges of moving forward with the production line of the handbags.
To the day before the passing of hurricane Maria, we had worked together non stop for 11 years...
Article: Matilsha Marxuach | Photos: Payola Isabel