An iconic American brand, an illustrious history, an outstanding reputation for quality, great employees and partners, countless devoted customers, highly regarded predecessors and, yes, still “Made in the USA” manufacturing … all of these called out to me several months ago when I considered the chance to become President & CEO of Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation. The gorgeous art and design of the products, and an interesting product development process, also enticed me. And, of course, I had been a loyal Allen Edmonds customer myself for years. After filling in as interim CEO starting in August, I committed to the company full time in October and, despite the economic headwinds, it has been a great move.
Founded in 1922, Allen Edmonds is a legendary American success story. Bert Allen took the company from its humble founding and turned it into a national leader in men’s shoes. For some 25 years beginning in the early 1980s, Milwaukee business and philanthropy icon John Stollenwerk owned and led this company with the kind of charisma, enthusiasm and effectiveness that – to quote a popular business book – brought Allen Edmonds from Good to Great. During John’s tenure, the company expanded many times over in revenues and influence. Allen Edmonds shoes are now sold throughout Europe and Japan, as well as in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. While over 90% of shoes sold in America today are produced off-shore, John stayed committed to USA manufacturing, bucking the trend in a way I greatly admire.
My team and I are completely dedicated today to building on this fabulous American story. This blog is the beginning of a re-introduction of Allen Edmonds’ once famous “Shoe Wrap,” in which we’ll discuss topics of interest to our customers. The “Shoe Wrap” is just one example of how we plan to use our website to build a dialog with the Allen Edmonds community. It’s also an example of our strategy to take great things from our past and make them relevant to today. I’m very much looking forward to your input and reactions to our work.
With best wishes,
Paul D. Grangaard
President & CEO
Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation