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This file photo from the 2013 annual Vera Bradley sale at the Coliseum shows the company's patterned bags.

Vera Bradley's history full of ups and downs

Vera Bradley Inc. has had more ups and downs than a sewing machine needle.

The local designer, manufacturer and retailer of quilted cotton handbags, luggage, accessories and home décor is in the midst of cutting jobs at its New Haven plant.

The job losses come less than four years after Fort Wayne's fashion darling issued its first public offering of stock.

Among Vera Bradley's notable highlights are:

•1982 – Friends Patricia Miller and Barbara Bradley Baekgaard launch a company that makes colorful, quilted cotton handbags that appeal to women; they cut pieces from material spread out on a pingpong table in the basement.

•October 1997 – The company's merchandise is first sold on QVC, a cable shopping network.

•March 2008 – Officials terminate its sewing contracts with a local contractor, eliminating more than 500 local jobs.

•January 2009 – Vera Bradley enters a float in the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade to boost the company's national profile.

•April 2009 – Production begins at the leased Adams Center Road plant; 310 workers are hired in the first three months.

•July 2010 – A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission signals the company's plan to sell stock to the public.

•October 2010 – Shares start trading on the Nasdaq stock market, raising more than $200 million for the company, its owners and bankers.

•December 2010 – The company reports a third-quarter operating loss of $200,000 after paying $15.7 million to the company's majority shareholders.

•March 2011 – Officials announce a 7 percent increase in annual earnings and plans to increase prices by about 5 percent for fall merchandise.

•April 2011 – Company insiders, including the co-founders, file forms to issue 6 million more shares of common stock at about $40 a share.

•April 2011 – Plans to create a design center in Roanoke are announced.

•June 2011 – A tax abatement request reveals Vera Bradley's plans to create 101 jobs with salaries ranging from $53,000 to $125,000 at its Silverado Drive facility in Roanoke.

•July 2011 – A limited selection of products goes on sale in Dillards department stores. A similar announcement is made in June 2012 regarding Von Maur stores, including the one at Jefferson Pointe shopping mall.

•December 2011 – The company reports profits that are more than double the prior year's third fiscal quarter; officials reveal plans to open 14 to 20 new company-owned retail stores each year.

•October 2012 – Patricia Miller retires from the company she co-founded.

•January 2013 – Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Blade resigns on short notice; no details are made public.

•June 2013 – Michael Ray, Vera Bradley's president and CEO, announces plans to retire from the company after six years in the position; the son-in-law of co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard was in his early 50s at the time. The same day, officials announced a 27 percent drop in quarterly earnings.

•August 2013 – Officials also announce plans for a $26.6 million headquarters investment that would create 128 new jobs by 2017.

•November 2013 – Robert Wallstrom, a former Saks Fifth Avenue executive, is named the new president and CEO.

•March 2014 – Officials cite customer fatigue as they announce plans to pare down patterns and styles; they also report a 15 percent drop in earnings for the fiscal year ended Feb. 1.

•June 2014 – Vera Bradley reports first-quarter earnings 29 percent lower than the same three months of 2013.

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