Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Employee Profiles: Samantha Steur

Samantha Steur, Stormy KromerI was made in Canada, but I know what it means to be made in the U.S.A.
-Samantha Steur, Product Development Coordinator

We’ve got a certain knack for American craftsmanship, and when we say “made like you,” we’re talking about honesty and passion. We’re genuine, and the gear we make is genuine, too. I’m proud our products live up to their reputation, and I truly feel lucky to work here.

When someone asks what I do, I say I take “baby” products—ideas, sketches, products in the earliest stages—and hold their hands until they’re grown up enough to go to market. I make sure every item is what it should be. And when you see something you’ve drawn in your sketchbook on a real live person, it’s quite a thrill.

So what gear do I wear? Well, I’ll say this: when the new products for Fall 2016 come out, I won’t be wearing anything but Kromer!

Employee Profiles: Steve & Mary Jo Welch

Steve & Mary Jo Welch, Stormy KromerWe’ve been married for 17 years, so we already know what it’s like to work together.
-Steve & Mary Jo Welch

Steve had been at Stormy Kromer for about eight years—working on manufacturing software and helping out in the Computer Aided Design department—when he heard of a position opening up in embroidery. He immediately thought of his wife.

And just like when he proposed, Mary Jo said yes, right off the bat.

“He’s so happy at the Kromer factory, I thought it would be a good place for me, too,” she said. “I got the embroidery job and have since moved into the Quality Assurance Department, where I get to inspect everything and help make sure ‘made in America’ means the highest quality standards.”

It’s been two-and-a-half years of being co-workers, and when you ask them the hardest part of sharing an employer, they’ll tell you “There is none.”

Steve says he’s “Glad to be helping so many smart, hardworking people produce so many good-looking, well-made products,” and while he could be talking about any one of the 120 employees here at Kromer, we’re pretty sure he’s referring to Mary Jo.

Employee Profiles: Bonnie Rubick

Bonnie RubickIf I can make you smile by the end of our conversation, I’ve done my job.
-Bonnie Rubick, Customer Service

When someone calls to place an order, I get the ball rolling, and the best part of my job is hearing how thrilled they are to know their very own piece of the Kromer legend is on its way. It makes me happy to make customers happy—even when they call just to chat about how much snow they have.

I think people are proud of where they’re from, and when you wear something that’s made in the U.S.A., it shows that pride. It’s like wearing a piece of history. Our legendary gear is durable, reliable, warm and fun—just like the people who wear it.

I want our customers to know that we’re as big of fans of them as they are of Stormy Kromer. Keep sending your pictures. Keep sharing your stories. Keep asking questions and offering suggestions—we are so happy to help.

Employee Profiles: Breanna Ahola

Breanna AholaIf you ever wonder who ties the tie on your Kromer, well, it’s nice to meet you.
-Breanna Ahola, Quality Inspector

I interviewed here a few years ago for a sewing position, but because I’m apparently a bit of a perfectionist, they said I was better suited for being an inspector. I guess they were right.

Simply put, I make sure every Kromer cap is perfect. Absolutely perfect. If there’s a flaw of any kind, it goes back, and I’ll inspect it again after it’s fixed. I’ve touched about 120,000 caps so far, and nothing less than the best gets past me.

I do get to do some sewing every now and then—stitching petals on the Petal Pusher, buttons on the Button-Up, et cetera. And I can make a perfect Kromer can koozie from start to finish—I’m the Koozie Queen—but the highlight of my job is hand-tying that tie. That is an honor.

The Family Behind Stormy Kromer

For those of you who don’t know, Stormy Kromer is part of a larger company called Jacquart Fabric Products (JFP). Founded in 1958 by Bob Jacquart, Sr., JFP employs about 120 folks in the Ironwood, Michigan area.

Earlier this summer, Gina Jacquart Thorsen – the founder’s granddaughter – sat down in front of a camera to talk about her memories of growing up in the business and her role with Stormy Kromer today. We think you’ll enjoy it.

It’s time to name new plaids!

Our product development team is hard at work on Fall/Winter 2016 new designs – and that means new plaids! Over the years we’ve asked for your suggestions on naming, and this year is no different. So take a look at our three new plaids, offer us your best names and we’ll pick our favorites.

Fall 16 Plaid #1

Plaid #1 combines a rich chocolate background with accents of mustard, cream and sky blue. The scale is on the larger side, and we can tell you that it will be used mainly for men’s products.


Plaid #2 comes on a light gray background, with teal, raspberry and charcoal lines. This smaller-sized plaid (similar to Wintergreen in scale) will be used for our ladies line.


Our last plaid has a heathered, medium brown background with olive, chocolate and blue creating a plaid along the same scale as Red Pine, which you can see here in the Flat Top Cap. We’ve got all kinds of plans for this plaid in a variety of products for both men and women.

Now it’s your turn to let us know what you think! Which do you look forward to the most, and what should we name them?

Apply to be a Stormy Kromer Brand Ambassador!

Stormy Kromer Brand Ambassador

We are excited to launch our Ambassador Program and offer you the opportunity to be a part of this inaugural group.  We know that there are countless passionate Stormy Kromer fans across the country who want to share their Stormy Kromer experiences and pass along some Stormy Kindness.

We are looking for Brand Ambassadors who are passionate about Stormy Kromer and our American-made story; influential men and women of all ages, from all areas of the country who can help us spread the word about our rugged, high-quality gear.

Are you a passionate outdoors person, craftsman, athlete or community leader who loves Stormy Kromer?  You could be our next SK envoy.

The exclusive benefits of our Ambassador community include:

  • Access to exclusive member’s only communication channels to communicate directly with Stormy Kromer staff and other ambassadors around the country.
  • The opportunity to wear, test and provide feedback on new products and prototypes.
  • The opportunity to provide feedback on new marketing campaigns, programs and promotions before being released to the public.
  • The SK Ambassador Kit – a coat/jacket, vest, shirt, mittens, 2 caps and a bag, all of your choosing, with a retail value of up to $950.
  • Ability to purchase additional Stormy Kromer gear at a substantial discount.
  • 12 free cap coupon cards to distribute as you see fit.
  • Free product and discount cards to use as promos/giveaways on your blog or other social media channels, based on a case by case evaluation of your proposed program.

Stormy Kromer Ambassador responsibilities are as follows:

  • Posting on Social Media – on both our corporate pages as well as your individual pages, we’ll ask you to share commentary, photos and videos of you putting your Stormy Kromer gear to good use, using the hash tags we’ll provide to you. Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram YouTube and Pinterest.
  • Write at least one post about Stormy Kromer during your ambassador term for our blog and your blog, if applicable.
  • Provide us with candid, honest and timely feedback on any product, ideas or campaigns we send to you for review.
  • Provide feedback for continued program improvement.
  • Agree to and sign our Ambassador Agreement, including a confidentiality clause regarding new products/prototypes you might receive.

Initially we will be selecting individuals to serve as ambassadors from September – December, 2015. Ambassadors will be reevaluated for a full year of service in 2016.

To apply, please complete our online application found here. The deadline to apply is August 15th. We may request a phone interview for final selection of our ambassadors.

We look forward to hearing from you – and please help us spread the word!

Business is a Family Affair

Father’s Day is a great reminder that for Stormy Kromer, business is a family affair. You see, my sister and I have the privilege of working with our Dad – it’s kind of like every day is Father’s Day. For those that don’t know, Stormy Kromer is a part of Jacquart Fabric Products (JFP) – a sewing factory started back in 1958 by my grandfather, Robert Jacquart, Sr., right here in beautiful Ironwood, Michigan. Today, Bob Jacquart, Jr. is our CEO, and my sister KJ and I manage various aspects of the business.

Gina and KJ running a sidewalk sale at the original factory.

For KJ and I, business and family have always been deeply intertwined. We learned early on what it means to be an entrepreneur and my Dad took every opportunity to expose us to the business.

Whether it was spending an evening with him delivering a finished product to a customer (with the promise of ice cream if we shook the customer’s hand, looked them in the eye and asked, “How are you today?”), combining a summer vacation with a quick stop to a supplier’s office, or learning how to make change at the cash register on Saturday mornings, business was ever present for the Jacquart daughers.

Gina at the storefront
Gina at the doorway of the original JFP storefront.

It worked out pretty well for Dad, as he now has his two daughters working with him every day, and preparing to take over the business when he’s ready to retire. (Although, who I am kidding, he’s never going to really retire.)

We’re living proof that you can combine family and business – and when you do, you actually make both the family and the business even better.

Bob, KJ and Gina
Bob Jacquart with his daughters Kari “KJ” Jacquart and Gina Jacquart Thorsen.

Happy Father’s Day Dad. KJ and I are proud to call you both our CEO and our father.

Employee Profiles: Lynn Jackson

Employee Profile: Lynn JacksonI used to work at the hospital, so that qualifies me to take care of Kromers.
– Lynn Jackson, Quality Inspector

As a Stormy Kromer inspector, it’s my job to make sure every cap is sized right and sewn right. No loose stitches. No crooked cuts. No errors of any kind. You can’t make mistakes and make a legend.

Our gear goes out with a “Made in the USA” logo on it, and that means it was made in a small community and made by hard work. It’s so satisfying to see how many different kinds of hats and other products get sewn each day, and to know we’re making them with pride. I want everyone out there to know that, because I want them to wear their hats with pride.

I see a lot of tourists come in for tours, and I love to hear all their questions. The Green Bay Packers even came in once—that was really something. I guess I’m just happy to see people who love our hats, and that’s why I love my job.

Employee Profiles: Jim Berton

Stormy Kromer Employee Profiles: Jim BertonThere are two kinds of people: the kind who work at Stormy Kromer, and the kind who wish they did.
-Jim Berton, Media Specialist

The folks who work here are the lucky ones. And when people ask what I do, I tell them I have the best job in the world, at the best place in the world, for the best people in the world. For 12 years, that’s been true every day.

Technically, though, I’m a “media specialist,” which is French for “graphics, embroidering, digitizing, photography, and anything else they’ll let me do.” Truly, I’ll do anything I can to help, and not just because my wife and I both get our paychecks here. (Yep. She was hired on the same day as me.)

We love it here. We have passion for what we do and where we’re from. And when you buy a piece of Stormy gear, you’re not only getting the highest-quality American-made merchandise money can buy, you’re getting a piece of the company—something made by hardworking Americans who put their reputation on the line every day to guarantee your satisfaction. Just try it on, and you’ll feel that passion, too.