Tag Archives: american made

Employee Profiles: Kim Heikkila

I drive a pretty mean forklift. Any questions?
- Kim Heikkila, Warehouse Work Lead

KimCUIf you work at Stormy Kromer—if you’re the type of hard-working, good-natured person who comes in every day excited to make the best gear they can—I’m the one who gets you what you need to do it. If you need a hundred yards of wool, I’ll bring it. If you need a spool of thread, I’ll find it. If you need boxes or bindings, I’ll go hunt them down.

I make it possible for people to make Stormy Kromers.

I’ve only been here two years, and I only own two pieces of gear (the Ida Kromer with Hardware and the SK Convertible), but I really enjoy my job and the quality people I work with. They’re great. They’re dedicated. And if you want the best American-made caps and clothing, they’re the people who can get it for you.

Stormy Kromer – Made in USA Gift Guide

‘Tis the season for giving! Stormy Kromer has the perfect item for everyone on your list this year.

For the Classic Guy: The Original Stormy Kromer Cap
It’s called the Original for a reason – this classic cap was created by Stormy and Ida over 100 years ago, and it’s still keeping heads warm with its iconic style.

Original Kromer Cap in Red/Black Plaid

For the Stylish Gal: The Button-Up
Our best-selling new product for good reason. The Button-Up takes our Ida Kromer design, moves the earband off center and replaces the tie with an oversized button. Still functional, but fabulous too.

Button Up Cap in Aurora

For the Commuter: The Tagalong
No matter where you’re headed every morning, The Tagalong carries your laptop or tablet safely and in style. In rugged waxed cotton or premium wool.

The Tagalong Laptop Bag

For the Outdoorsperson: Tough Mitts and Ida’s Mittens
Featuring our rugged wool/nylon blend and all-natural deerskin, the Tough Mitts and Ida’s Mittens are the ultimate handwarmers for winter’s worst.

Tough Mitts Idas Mittens

For the Booklover: The Cabin Blanket
Who wouldn’t want to curl up on the couch with a nice warm blanket and a great book? You could easily spend all day wrapped up in The Cabin Blanket’s fleece and flannel and the next must-read trilogy.

Cabin Blanket in Red Cedar

Employee Profiles: Denise Marten

I’m no Stormy, but I do sign his name on every cap.
- Denise Marten, Embroidery Work Leader

Sewing on Stormy Kromer's SignatureI got my first job in this place before Stormy Kromer was even part of it—that’s 17 years ago, and I can’t even tell you how many caps and other great gear has come across my desk. Way too many to count! I can tell you this, though, I am proud of being part of a legend.

We make great products (I own over 20 pieces myself!)—strong, honest, warm, made-in-the-USA products—and our line continues to grow. My job is to oversee the embroidery on those products—from Stormy’s signature on the back of the caps to special-order stitching, like what we did for the US Ski Jumping teams. Honestly, that was the best day of my career: seeing those USA monograms on national TV.

I’m a busy wife, mother and grandmother, but what keeps me coming back each day is the knowledge and pride that we are continuing to build on our legend of quality. We just keep getting better!

Why American Made?

We’d like to introduce you to Alan Svoboda. As our Lead Designer, Alan brings us the initial concepts and sketches for our new products each season. His resume includes companies like J Crew and Target, but his real passion is American-made brands. Today, he talks about why American made matters to him – and why it should to you this holiday season.

alansquareOne of my favorite things about buying American made products is the quality.  From first sight, to first touch, you can see and feel the difference immediately.   Growing up, like most, I never gave a second thought about where my garments were produced.  It wasn’t until I began shopping at thrift stores for vintage clothing that I began to take notice of the superiority American made products exude.  Here were 70 year old garments, designed to be used under very grueling circumstances, and they were still in great shape.  It was seeing these pieces of history that made me realize the importance of our American manufacturing traditions, and all the stories each one of these garments has to tell.  You see it’s not about the products keeping up with the latest “trend”; it’s about the product keeping up with our demanding lifestyles.  A piece of apparel that’s an investment, not because it cost more than something you would buy from a big-box store, but because it’s something you will wear for the rest of your life.

Here at Stormy Kromer we design apparel and accessories with you in mind.  Made like you, by people like you.  Outfitting our customers with products designed with a classic style, made from the highest quality materials, and manufactured in America by real people who care about the products they produce.  Our garments are up to the task, and now it’s up to you to write your story.  So spread the American made message this holiday season, and let’s raise the tide together.  After all, quality is the gift that keeps on giving.

Employee Profiles: Dennis ‘Mac’ McRae

Every day on the job is the best day on the job.
- Dennis ‘Mac’ McRae, Purchasing Director

MacCUOkay, I know how that sounds, but for the most part, every day here is great. I work with hardworking, dedicated people, and the company is growing, changing, expanding, and that keeps me coming back.

What do I do here? I’m responsible for sourcing and purchasing the raw goods our gear is made from: the best wools, cottons and other fabrics from all over the world. And for 34 years, I’ve been proud to help keep the team working by keeping up with the growing demands for those raw goods.

I’ve got ten Kromers of my own (my favorite of which is the waxed cotton cap), and I guess what I want to say to other Kromer fans is thank you. Thanks for helping keep a legend alive and growing. Thanks for supporting Made in the USA.

Employee Profiles: Dan Pavlovich

If you wanted to know my favorite piece of Kromer gear, I couldn’t tell you. Literally.
- Dan Pavlovich, Technical Designer

DanCUSure, I really like the Brushman Vest, but truth be told, I can’t tell you about my favorite Stormy Kromer items because they haven’t come out yet.

I head up the research and development team here at Kromer, and as technical designer for all our new products, I’m not allowed to let the cat out of the bag when it comes to what’s coming out. So I’ll just say this: there are some really great things in production right now that people are really going to love.

That’s the best thing about my job—seeing patterns I’ve sketched come to life on the models, then seeing how successful they are with customers. This is a great American tradition we’re making for people, and I think everyone in the Kromer family feels a sense of accomplishment about that.

I tell you, after 27 years, I still love it here.

Employee Profiles: Cheryl Bjork

Would you like it tomorrow? Okay then, how about today?
Cheryl Bjork, Production Manager


I started working at Stormy Kromer 11 years ago because it’s a flexible, family-friendly place to work, and anyone who shows interest and ability has an opportunity here. They have a place to grow and build their skills.

I started as an entry-level inspector—a very important job and one I was proud to do—and have since moved up to the position of production manager. That means I’m the one who makes sure we have enough of the right items in inventory to fill our orders.

And that means it’s up to me when you get your gear; my goal is to ship it the day you order it.

Stormy Stories, Volume 2

Welcome to our next Stormy Stories post. In this series we’ll celebrate the unique, rugged, down-to-earth and genuine people we’re proud to call our customers.

We found Randee the very first year we put out a call on Facebook for models, and she returned to work with us again this year. Randee reminds us a lot of the people here in Ironwood: a small-town, northern Minnesota girl who savors life and all the adventures it brings. She owns her own photography business, Made For You Photography, and when she’s not working she’s usually out shooting trap, hunting, snowmobiling or fishing with her family. Did we mention she also works part-time at a store that sells Kromer products?

randee1Here’s some more about Randee from a recent conversation we had about her connection to Stormy Kromer:

SK: How did you come to know about Stormy Kromer?

RD: As a proud fourth generation Kromer wearer, I’ve known about the caps my whole life. When I finally managed to get a cap of my own, it was the Ida Kromer Cap in Pink. I love that hat. And even though I’ve added on to my collection since then, I still wear it often.

SK: Well, since you brought it up, what’s in your Stormy Kromer collection today?

RD: Counting my most recent purchase just a week or so ago, I’ve got six caps, two pair of mittens, a coat and the new Parkland Vest. But my favorite item is the white and raspberry Petal Pusher. It gives me such easy, warm, adorable style. And while I’ve got a few friends who still think “Elmer Fudd” when I mention Kromer, I think I prove them wrong with this cap.

randee3SK: You’re definitely an outdoorsy kind of gal. What’s your most memorable outside moment?

RD: While I’ve had a lot of fabulous experiences, one of the most memorable would have to be when I shot my first deer. I’ll never forget it – I was four months pregnant with my son at the time! My husband was with me, and almost cried he was so excited for me. And of course, my Stormy Kromer was with me too.

SK: You’ve been on two different photo shoots with us now. Is there a moment during a shoot that stands out?

RD: Things got just a little crazy at the shoot this past March. The photographer, the amazing Mitch Kezar, got the idea to shoot a bunch of us from overhead while we were playing cards. To do this, he had to climb up a gazebo and then lay down on top of it, shooting down at us. He had it in his head he could get a great shot and he made it happen!

randeegroupSK: What’s your favorite Stormy Kromer story?

RD: It’s not so much a story but I love the bond you form with other Kromer wearers. When you see someone wearing a cap, you know you can walk right up to them, start a conversation, and most likely, make a new friend. This has happened to me time and time again.

SK: Our new tagline is Made Like You. What does that mean to you?

RD: It means that you are doing it right. Making things that are real, with high standards of quality and service, all the while giving American citizens jobs. Sadly, you don’t see all of those things in one place much anymore.


Employee Profiles: Barb Wilman

I’ve made over half a million hats; I’m still here and counting.
Barb Wilman, Sewing Machine Operator

BarbCUMy job at Stormy Kromer just sort of fell in my lap. I’ve been here for over 20 years now and I’m proud of the work I do. We’re all proud to be here and happy to do what we do. For me, that’s 300-400 hats a day for the last five years on the Kromer line—I’m thankful for the God-given talent of being able to sew anything on any line. So when help is needed, I’m there!

The hat, vest or bag you’re holding right now was made right here. Made in America. That makes me proud, too. Honestly, it reminds me of childhood, when my mom sewed some of our clothes. You knew it was made with love and that it was going to last. That’s what you’re getting here, and when we say “Made like you,” we’re talking about being sturdy and long-lasting.

We are a tough breed here in Michigan’s U.P., and we’re proud to be caretakers of the Kromer legend.

Handmade by Him: Dan Pavlovich, dreaming of plaid.

Up next in our series of employee features is Dan Pavlovich – a longtime employee who grew up with Bob Jacquart, and now plays a key role in product design and development.

Stormy Kromer DesignSK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
Wow, what haven’t I done? I started at the front desk with Bob’s mom (Bob Jacquart, the head honcho here at Kromer). I’d sit there with a sewing machine and a telephone—greeting customers, laying out patterns, sewing and answering calls. I graduated to R&D, so now I work with the prototypes and new designs.

SK: So what sorts of things have you designed?
Oh, I’ve worked on a little bit of everything, but I did the tote bag, messenger bag, overnight bags and developed the plaids for the shirts.

SK: You came up with plaid? How do you come up with plaid?
I’ll just say you need a critical and artistic eye.

SK: How long have you worked for Bob?
I’ve been here since the old store on McLeod Avenue, which started out as Bob’s grandfather’s grocery store. It’s been 25 years for me, but I’ve known Bob since I was little. He lived one backyard away.

SK: Is that how you got the job?
Well, I went to college and got into costume design, then got out of it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to survive on that. Bob knew I could sew, though, so he hired me.

SK: Does costume design influence what you do today?
All the skills I have I learned in the theater in college. Sewing, colors, design—all of it. I did it all by hand and still do. I think that’s the best way to design—you really get a feel for what you’re making.

SK: How does it feel to know you’re helping stitch together a legend?
I really enjoy that. Everybody here has a hand in it, and no one has an ego. I’m very proud that we’re making people happy.

SK: What’s the best day you’ve had on the job?
Every day is my best day! (laughs) There’s truth in that, though. I really enjoy coming here. I won’t say that I don’t like leaving at the end of the day, but I love my job.

SK: What does “Made in America” mean to you?
It means we’re bucking the trend of making a fast buck.

SK: Anything else you’d like to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
Keep shopping! And just wait until you see the great gear that’s coming out next!