Tag Archives: family

Christmas in Minnesota

Guest Post by SK Brand Ambassador, Joe Whitson

A Winter Lake in Minnesota

After a reluctant arrival, winter in Minnesota is finally beginning to take hold. The rough waters of our 10,000 lakes are slowly, slowly freezing over, exchanging their ripples and waves for icy crystals, spider webbing their way across the surface in endlessly complex patterns. Nature has replaced her faded greens and grays, lovely in November, but out of style in December, for a new coat of unblemished snow. In winter, the stars seem crisper and even the sun herself celebrates the season, rewarding early risers with her sundog, the multi-hued ring she wears on only the coldest and clearest mornings.

Winter in Minnesota

It might sound cliché, but in winter, the world truly is transformed. Of course, every season brings change, but the changes of other seasons speak to growth and progress, always looking forward. In winter, the alterations seem more foundational, more primal; it looks back, a time of reflection and heritage. Colors are simple and honest; sound is subdued beneath the snow. When I walk through the knee-high snow drifts of one of Minnesota’s evergreen forests, the heavy boughs drooping threateningly above my head, my breath drifting out in miniature white clouds, the sound of the sudden crack of ice as it expands in one of the nearby lakes, thoughts of the future are set aside and nostalgia is allowed to run free.

A Winter Trail in Minnesota

I know what you’re thinking, it’s easy to romantically philosophize about the season when you’re sitting peacefully by a fire watching the flurries come down outside, but the realities of winter often make it hard to appreciate. For my sister, trying to survive winter with two toddlers can be far from magical. Every errand is a lesson in patience as gloves and hats and boot and coats are put on and taken off and lost and found. Every icy sidewalk is a potential fall and every icy road a potential accident. Every outdoor task that is hard enough with two babies in the summer, becomes something to be dreaded in the winter. You don’t think about the lightly shrouded fir trees, you think about the painfully frigid wind and hope your daughter’s nose won’t freeze.

Peninsula Cap, Urban Workpack and Tough Mitts from Stormy Kromer

This year for Christmas, I wanted to give my sister the gift of seeing winter as it should be seen. I wanted her to look back, to rediscover the magic winter holds for all of us before the realities of life gets in the way. The question was how to translate an experience, a way of seeing the world into a concrete gift. I decided on a Stormy Kromer Christmas. Stormy Kromer is a heritage brand from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that I know values winter the same way I do. There is just something about wool and flannel that jump starts winter nostalgia. My sister will be getting the new Peninsula cap, a pair of wool Tough Mitts, and an Urban Workpack. I also threw in a Minnesota State Park pass for good measure. But of course, the real gift isn’t about the gear, it’s about the experience, so the gift also includes a January trip to wintry woods north of Lake Superior, hosted by yours truly. The kids can stay home with dad.

So this winter, get outside, rediscover the season and from all of us at Stormy Kromer, have the happiest of holidays.

A Kromer Christmas Miracle

The Reynolds Family

On August 10th of this year, the newest member of the extended Kromer family was brought into the world – Hunter George Reynolds. While the family is celebrating now, little Hunter has had to fight to get here.

You see, Hunter was born 3 months premature and weighed in at just 1 lb, 10 oz on that August day. Members of the Kromer family contacted us soon after his birth, and his Stormy Kromer family here in Ironwood immediately joined the large group of people sending prayers his way.

His family just sent us this photo this week – and you can see how tiny little Hunter still is 4 1/2 months later. His Lil Kromer Cap is still way too big on him!  He has been quite the fighter these months – and the best news is that he has been able to finally go home after spending months in the NICU.

So how does Hunter fit into the Kromer family? Hunter is Stormy’s great-great-great nephew, and his middle name of George is in homage to the many “Georges” in the Kromer family, including our namesake, George “Stormy” Kromer.

One last note. Hunter’s parents are named Tyler and Angela. Do you see what happens when you correctly arrange the initials of their first names? H. A. T.

Tyler and Angela say this was completely unintentional. Maybe. Or maybe there was a little divine intervention from his great-great-great uncle.

Please join us in welcoming Hunter home for Christmas, a Kromer Christmas miracle!

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Cabin

Guest Post by SK Brand Ambassador, Jill Emmer

Jill in her Huron Poncho

Hi! My name is Jill Emmer. I am a mom, a photographer & a bit of an adventurer. I live in Minneapolis, MN.  It is an honor to also be a Stormy Kromer brand ambassador. You can learn more about me at www.ShineOnPhotos.com. Today I am going to tell you the story of how I became involved with Stormy Kromer.

Kids playing by Tree

About a week before school started, I decided to take my boys on a spur-of-the-moment road trip. My husband had to work, so it was just myself and the boys. We went up to the North Shore of Minnesota, then down along the southern side of Lake Superior and through Upper Michigan and into Wisconsin until we reached the family cabin on the northeast side of Wisconsin.

Along the way we visited places such as Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Park Point Rec Area in Duluth, Amnicon Falls State Park, Brule River State Forest and the Porcupine Mountain area.

Kids playing on rocks

It was a wonderful trip. The sort of trip you hope will give your kids memories for years to come. Skipping rocks, collecting rocks, hiking near waterfalls, singing silly songs, seeing all sorts of wildlife, rainy nights in hotel pools and all three of us accidentally falling asleep in the same bed nearly every night.

Boy in a canoe

While we were traveling, I made a point to take us through the towns of Ironwood, MI and Hurley, WI. I remembered how beautiful the area was from countless ski trips up to that area growing up. I had seen the area many times in the winter, but never in the summer.

Kids by the Stormy Kromer statue

While we were driving through Ironwood, MI, my son Arlo pointed out the window at a statue of a giant hat and said “Grandma Lynn!” Sure enough, it was a statue of a hat my mom wears all the time! A Stormy Kromer! How funny to pass right by that giant hat. I have always had a love for the brand: my dad is an avid outdoorsman of all types – hunting, fishing, skiing, etc. In fact, he grew up in a small town not too far from Ironwood, MI. He is a very practical outdoorsman who would never consider spending more than $30 on a pair of jeans (he has bought his jeans from Fleet Farm for as long as I can remember) and he has always had a Stormy on his head. I have heard him say many times that it is the best hat possible for ice fishing. Warm. Keeps the sun out. Easy to grab on and off. And most importantly, it allows you to cover your ears on an as-needed basis!

Chopping Ice

Anyways – my dad converted all of my family into Stormy lovers. My mom (and dad) volunteer at a humane society and spend 20-30 hours a week walking dogs. No matter what the weather is – they walk for hours! My mom has at least 4 Stormy Kromers.

Walking dogs in Stormy Kromer

So, of course I pulled in and we bought our first and only souvenirs (besides rocks of course) of the trip! A round of new hats for all!

In a canoe with Stormy Kromer

That night I stalked Stormy Kromer out on social media and found out they were looking for Brand Ambassadors! It seemed a bit fateful that I happened to pass through their hometown at just the right time. So I threw my name into the hat and a little while later I found out I was accepted as a Brand Ambassador!

Canoeing with Stormy Kromer

I have turned down many offers from other companies to act as their rep. To be honest, I am not a big fan of advertising in social media. I try to use my photography and my Instagram account for art, not marketing. This was certainly the first time I asked a company to be their rep!  However, I am already taking photos of everyone in my family with these hats on so it seems logical – and exciting.

Hugging a tree with Stormy Kromer

These are some of my favorite Stormy products:

The Button-Up hat and the Huron Poncho.

The Highland Vest

The cozy Benchwarmer Mittens

The red/black scarf with the black hat combo

And the men’s red/black flannel shirt

Thanks so much for reading my blog post! I look forward to sharing future adventures with Stormy & you!




Employee Profiles: Melissa Allen

Melissa Allen, Stormy KromerThe first thing I did was attach the earband, which is like going straight to the top.
– Melissa Allen, Sewing Machine Operator

When people ask what I do for a living, I tell them I work on the Kromer line—with a big smile on my face, of course. Naturally, I’m happy to be here. I get to work with great and hard-working people, and we make something that lasts a lifetime. How could you be anything but proud of that?

After three years here, I get to do a lot of different jobs, but my day is mostly spent stitching in the liners and the labels, and I still get to help attach the earbands. For me, every day on the job is the best day on the job because I know people can wear our gear with a smile.

It’s true I only own one Kromer cap—it’s stylish, and it keeps my head really warm—but every single member of my
family has a cap to go with mine, so I think we’re covered. Well… I suppose we could use a few more. And I’ve been eyeing up the purses, too.

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.

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.

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.

A Cap for Any Season and Any Dad

Every dad needs a great go-to cap, and most dads need more than one. A hunting cap. A fishing cap. A Sunday cap. A work cap.

Stormy Kromer has all these options and more. Choose any of them for the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Caps for Dad

From top left:
The Original Stormy Kromer Cap – in 11 colors including blaze orange, there’s a cap for every day of the week and more.
The Original with Deerskin – in Partridge Plaid with a touch of deerskin, this cap gets noticed.
The Original with Hardware – in 4 colors and featuring a classy metal badge, this cap goes uptown as well as it goes downtown.
The Rancher Cap – with Thinsulate and over 3 times warmer than the Original, this is the ultimate sub-zero cap.
The Cabby –  new to the line last year this cap adds a touch of class to the Kromer cap offerings.
The Brimless Cap – an Original without the brim, the Brimless is perfect after skiing or snowmobiling, or even under a helmet.
The Waxed Cotton Cap – in water-repellent paraffin-treated cotton, this cap keeps you dry even if the conditions aren’t.
The Field Cap – the lightest cap in the SK line-up, the Field Cap features brushed cotton canvas and a longer brim. Also in Realtree.
The Curveball Cap – a classic baseball cap in brushed wool flannel.
The Flat Top Cap – a cadet-style silhouette for any laid back fall day. In solids or plaids.

Which cap is your Dad wishing for?

Keep Dad Dry With Waxed Cotton

While wool is most certainly the favorite fiber here at Stormy Kromer, waxed cotton has to come in a close second. We are proud to exclusively use Martexin® fabrics for our waxed products because their commitment to quality meets our own. They begin with cotton that has been mercerized and dyed with reactive dyes to ensure deep dye penetration and finish with their Martexin process (which they have been using since the 30s), giving the cotton a water-repellent finish.

Keep Day Dry with Waxed Cotton


Featured in this gift guide is the Wear Weather Jacket  – a tough, lighter-weight jacket that blends ruggedness with style. Pair it with our Waxed Cotton Cap to keep Dad dry from the top down. Pictured here is the cap in black – grab a great deal on this discontinued color!

Last but not least is the Tagalong Bag. Made with our 10 oz. waxed cotton and lined with soft cotton twill and foam padding, this messenger-style bag will protect Dad’s laptop or tablet from all the elements.

Which waxed cotton item would the Dad in your life enjoy most?

Plaid, Camo & Blaze for Father’s Day

The first week of June means so many things. Warmer temps. Sunny skies. Baseball. Graduation. It’s also not too soon to be thinking about Father’s Day!

The first in a series of gift guides focuses on the hunting Dad. We know there are a lot of them out there and while hunting season may still be many months away, these gifts will be appreciated by the true outdoorsman.

Hunting Dad

Our Mackinaw Coat in Red/Black plaid is the classic hunting jacket and a must for any traditional outdoorsman.

For the modern hunters we offer two wool caps in Blaze Orange – the iconic Original Cap and the ultra-warm Rancher Cap. And while we’re talking about staying warm, our Tough Mitts will keep those extremities toasty while waiting in your deer stand.

Finally,  the Field Cap in cotton twill Realtree AP is a non-wool option for warmer seasons that don’t require blaze headgear.

We’d love to hear your favorite hunting stories with you and your Dad. Share them here or on our Facebook page!