Tag Archives: family

Meet Living Legend Finalist Bruce Carnahan

Nominated by: Calli Ann Carnahan, daughter
Growing up in Ashland, Wisconsin, my father has always been regarded as the epitome of a “Man’s Man,” learning to hunt, fish, and survive in the woods from the day he was born.

While my siblings and I were growing up (and even today for that matter), my dad never seemed to run out of amazing stories that seem so foreign from the way life is today. He tells grand tales of getting dropped in the woods at the age of ten, alone, on the weekend for entertainment. He says he would bring with a few cans of beans, and a sleeping bag, and spend his summer weekends in the woods.

His lifelong experience shows. I have always been amazed by the amount of knowledge my dad has, as never once has he flaunted it. I swear he knows every edible thing in the wild, how to track any animal, and can sense the direction he is facing with his eyes closed. I have never met another person who can ward off the cold as he does, not even wearing gloves while ice fishing out on Lake Superior.

Now, by the time I came along I already had a 10-year-old brother, and a 7-year-old sister. My mom was a stay at home mom and worked part-time at the Hardware Hank in town. My dad worked construction and had owned his own company for a few years by the time I was born.

My mom and dad met when they were in their teens, and my mom got pregnant with my brother, Tony, when she was 19, and my dad 24. I swear they have never once had it easy.

Their journey was remarkable. From what they say, they lived in a tent on Madeline Island for a summer while my dad was working there, in a hunting shack in Bayfield with no bathroom and a wood burning stove, with my grandparents on their farm, in a trailer on the outskirts of town, and eventually in a small cabin on McCarrey Lake in Iron River, WI.

My siblings and I all had different childhoods, but we can all agree on remembering 2 things very distinctively; love, and Kromer.

As I’ve mentioned, my dad worked construction, and had been doing so since he was 21. Everyday once the weather turned chilly, my dad left the house in a flannel shirt, a pair of Carhartts, and the Kromer he’s had since the beginning of time. No need for more than one, h¬e says, as they last your whole life. A Kromer is the one and only hat my dad ever wears. He wears it hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, errand running, driveway plowing, and anything else that he’s doing outside in the cold. My Dad has influenced many in their purchase of Kromers, including my boyfriend Sam whom, didn’t follow his “you only need one rule.”

I swear, he just gets cuter and more loving every year. If he isn’t doing something outside, he is visiting us kids, playing with his grandkids, or has his arm around his wife of 33 years. He loves twitter and self describes himself as a “Builder, Hunter, Fisherman, Outdoorsman, Sports Enthusiast, Proud Gramps, Pops & Gruncle,” but I can assure you, he is much more than that.

Charity: Habitat for Humanity

Hometown: Iron River, WI

Meet Living Legend Finalist Helen Baird

Nominated by: Michael Christopher, grandson 
My grandmother, Helen Baird, just turned 97 years young in August of this year. To make a long, complicated story short, she was my mother’s aunt, until circumstance and courage changed things. My mom was born into a family that had too many children and too little money. Instead of allowing the kids to be adopted out to strangers and possibly split up, some of the aunts decided to legally adopt the children themselves. In a nutshell, that’s how my mom’s aunt became her mother and my grandmother.

My grandmother is an AMAZING woman with an unlimited number of stories to tell. She still has all of her faculties, walks without aid, mows her own lawn and only recently quit driving and gave up her driver’s license. She is a cancer survivor after having part of a lung removed decades ago. She is a former realtor, former bar owner and wife to a man that fought in WWII. She has witnessed and lived first hand many historical events that the rest of us have only read about. Helen Baird is OUR Living Legend and I believe you’d be doing yourself a great service by making this amazing, remarkable woman…yours.

6400 Miles

In early August, we had an amazing surprise visitor show up at our factory.  Bob Beaubien, the son and nominator of our 2013 Living Legend, Laura Mae Beaubien.

Bob was in the middle of a 6400 mile cross-country tour on his Harley, and we were honored that he chose to stop and see his.  We’re also glad he took so many photos, and kindly shared them with us.  Enjoy!

Of course, the photos have to start with Bob standing next to the wall of tribute we have for his mom (and Dad too).

He couldn’t resist having his picture taken with our 1954 Louisville Slugger that is personalized for George “Stormy” Kromer.

Next he posed with Kirsten, Customer Service Manager, and KJ, Division Manager.

In addition to the factory tour, he had to get some pics to our big hat statue.  (Nice bike!)

Then, when he heard a few of us were working a booth at Loon Day, about 22 miles out of his way, he decided to check out what the event was all about, and get some more photos taken, this time with Gina.

Of course he had to celebrate his arrival into Michigan as well!

And if you’re wondering about the t-shirt he is wearing, check out this family photo with Laura in the middle and her kids surrounding her.  I’d say Laura’s family is pretty darn proud of her.  As they should be.

Nominations for the 2014 Living Legend will be opening in early October.  Start thinking about who you think is worthy of this honor!

A father, a daughter, a Kromer: it’s a little bit more than a Father’s Day gift.

When other kids had to go to Disney World, a young Amanda Dinkel got to go to the U.P.

She grew up in Gladwin, Michigan, smack in the middle of the lower peninsula, with two older brothers and parents who loved the outdoors. Her father, Larry, who spent his days as an engineer, spent his life as a hunter and fisherman, and he often brought his kids out onto Superior or Huron for hours on end.

“We loved the outdoors, too, but he’d drag us on that boat, and we thought it was torture,” said Amanda, a middle-school reading teacher in Caro, Michigan, just an hour or so from her hometown. “We’d tell him ‘No, don’t take us. We’re gonna die!’”

Long days on a boat can be tough for any kid, but after her college graduation, Amanda set a goal for herself: to learn something her dad really loves and to have him teach her.

“I’m a girly-girl, but I wanted to connect with my dad. Fishing and hunting was a way to do that.”

It was on one of those trips—a venture to Larry’s favorite bear-hunting hideaway near the Keweenaw—when Amanda and her dad really found something to bond them.

“We stopped in Brevort for some smoked fish, and they had a whole selection of Kromer caps,” added Amanda. “I squealed! I’d been following Stormy Kromer on Facebook for a couple years, but this was the first I’d seen them. I was so excited. I got myself a Petal Pusher, hopped back in the car, and my dad said ‘Well, what did you get?’

“Naturally, being from Michigan, being an outdoorsman, he knew everything about Stormy Kromer—the caps, the gear, the history. There isn’t always a lot to talk about on that eight-hour stretch of road, but we now had Stormy Kromer in common. He just kept saying they were so cool.”

It wasn’t too long after that when Amanda ordered her father an Original in charcoal wool.

“My father is pretty simple in his wants and needs, so he isn’t always easy to shop for. But now there’s no question what to get him,” added Amanda. “I want to thank the people at Stormy Kromer for giving me an opportunity to bond with my dad. Kromer is our connection, and it’s authentic, through and through.”

Authentic. Just like Amanda and her dad.

Do you have a great Kromer Dad story to share??

Handmade by Him: Jim Berton, the man behind the pictures.

Up next in our series of employee features is Jim Berton – our resident photography/graphics/technology expert who loves learning new skills and putting them to use at Stormy Kromer.

SK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
JB: I wear a lot of hats. Really.

SK: Nice pun.
JB: Thank you. Truly, I learned to do what needs to be done. They needed a product photographer, so I’m the product photographer. I also digitize the embroidery for the logos on the custom hats and other products. I went to school for digitizing, so I’m trained in that, and I’ve got a pretty good background in graphics. I guess I’d say my day is split between embroidery, graphics and photography.

SK: How did you get the job?
JB: I was a plant manager for Modern Case Company in Bessemer, making cases for musical instruments. We had one of the first computerized cutting machines in the area, and when Bob (Jacquart, owner of Stormy Kromer) toured the plant to check out that machine, that’s when we met. When he bought his new cutting machine, he hired me to run it. He hired my wife, too.

SK: Your wife works here?
JB: She does, and we started on the same day. May 5th, eleven years ago.

SK: What have you learned in all that time?
JB: I learn something every day. I have to, or I can’t go to bed at night. Really, I’ll stay up until I learn something new. And I never tell anyone I don’t know how to do something—if they give me one day, I’ll know how to do it tomorrow.

SK: What do you think of the new lines of apparel?
JB: Things here just keep getting better and better and better. And the new gear is just a knockout. I shoot the pictures, and I say to myself, “Man, is this really made here?” I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

SK: So you like it?
JB: We went from the “old man hat” to the “everyman hat,” and the things we’ve done since Gina (Thorsen, VP of Marketing & Sales) started, well, the sky’s the limit. As a matter of fact, my wife and I always planned to move back to Ohio someday, but because of the positive direction this company is going in, we’re going to stay up here ‘til we die.

SK: How many pieces of Kromer gear do you own?
JB: None, sorry. I’m the weird guy who wears shorts 12 months a year—even when snowblowing—so this warm clothing is just too much for me. I buy it all the time for family and friends, though.

SK: What does “Made in America” mean to you?
JB: It says it all. When I see people working here and putting out a product they’re proud to make, it just says it all.

SK: Anything else you want to say to Kromer fans?
JB: There are only two kinds of people in the world: The ones who get to work here and the ones who wished they work here!

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?
DP:
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?
DP:
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?
DP:
I’ll just say you need a critical and artistic eye.

SK: How long have you worked for Bob?
DP:
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?
DP:
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?
DP:
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?
DP:
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?
DP:
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?
DP:
It means we’re bucking the trend of making a fast buck.

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

Living Legend Wrap-Up

Well, the month of January is over, and so officially is this year’s Living Legend program.  Once again, you were extremely generous with your support of the program through your January shopping, and we will be sending our donation check off to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital next week.

Living LegendThe staff here at Stormy Kromer has really enjoyed getting to know Laura Mae Beaubien.  So did Leslie Pugmire Hole, reporter at the Redmond Spokesman, a central Oregon newspaper.  Her interview with Laura and family resulted in a few wonderful quotes that we’d like to share.

Leslie quotes Laura’s son Bob, who first considered nominating his father Harold.

“I started thinking about what had made my Dad strong and I realized it was my mother.  She was always in his corner, she went to bat for him all the time.  A 60-year marriage?  People just don’t do that anymore.”

Laura continues to be humbled, and even a bit embarrassed about all the attention she’s received as our Living Legend, but still hopes her story is inspiring, even though (as she told us when she won), she didn’t win a war or anything.

“Families need to know there are good, one-day-at-a-time people still out there”, Laura said.

Yes, we sure do.  And thanks Laura, for the legendary reminder.

So Many Hats

Congratulations to this year’s Living Legend, Laura Mae Beaubien!  In case you missed it, here is the nomination her son sent to us which earned her this honor.

By: Robert Beaubien, Son

living legendLaura Mae Beaubien is my father’s hidden strength.  Married at 19 years old, and for over 60 years, the two of them built a bond that could only be broken by the vow, “till death do we part.”

My stay-at-home mother attended to the household and raising of six children – yes six kids!  I believe there’s nothing stronger than the love a Mother has for her children.  She had so many hats she had to wear.

If one of us scraped our knee, she was there as the “Nurse” to patch us up and mother away our tears, always followed with a kiss that made it better.  She would take all of us to the A&P to go shopping with a bandana covering her curlers, the “Beauty Queen” to us.  As a “Financial Planner,” Mom saved S&H Green and Gold Bell stamps to get something free.  She could get all of us ready for church in our best Sunday clothes faster than a “Pageant Coordinator.”

I learned that when I was called, and that call included my middle name, I was in for it, as mom the “Sheriff” taught me.  We had to make our beds, pick up our clothes, feed the dog and other chores, thanks to mom the “Warden.”  My Mother the “Teacher” taught us responsibility.  She taught us to say ‘yes please,’ ‘no thank you,’ and to show respect .  Her “Dale Evans” hat was earned as we moved from our beloved Michigan to an Oregon cattle ranch.  She learned how to ride a horse, brand, and vaccinate cattle.  As the “Chef,” she maximized menus that would feed us and the branding/buckaroo crew for days.

With all these hats, she found time for my Dad as a loving, caring soulmate for life.  Now that we have our own lives, Mom and Dad were free to do the things they put off in their youth in order to raise us as a family believing in our faith, having respect of others, and doing what is right.

This free time as “Vacationers” was cut short as my Dad was told he had cancer.  Wearing this “Caregiver” hat, my mother has strengths I’ll never be able to describe, as she was a devoted companion till the end, remaining strong for us kids.  Their last long trip together – with mom as the “Navigator” – wasn’t to Hawaii, Miami, or Southern California, it was home to Michigan, where they visited family and friends.  They made new friends like Bob Jacquart, as they visited one of Michigan’s landmarks, the Stormy Kromer factory.

With a birthday on Christmas eve, my Mom will be 80 but not alone, as she will share in the celebration of life with her “Walton “-like family of Beaubien’s, driving from all over the state of Oregon, to be with her on this Blessed holiday and birthday.  My Mother made her life in a world that said ‘they were to young’ and lasted far beyond today’s marriages, raised a family, taught us new lessons and reminded us of the ones we let slide.  I nominate my Mother Laura Mae Beaubien because she would be a superior role model and a person to aspire and emulate her life’s values of a mother’s love.

Handmade by Her: Patti Budgick, an outerwear legend.

Stormy Kromer Patti BudgickSK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
PB:
I’m the work-lead for the outerwear line. That means I do a little of everything when it comes to our vests, the Town Coat, the Mackinaw Coat and the Airman’s Jacket. I make sure the orders get done in order; I make sure the shelves are stocked; and I sew right alongside my girls.

SK: That’s all?
PB:
Almost. I’m a supervisor, so there’s management duties, too. I help employees with personal stuff, if they need it. We’re pretty close around here.

SK: So what’s Bob (Jacquart, owner) like as a person?
PB: He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a good background. He’s a nice guy, easy to talk to. Bob’s got a good company to work for—they put employees first. And taking care of your kids is very important to him, so if your kid’s sick or something, he’s very supportive.

SK: What’s the best day you’ve ever had on the job?
PB:
I’ve been here so long, I don’t know if I can remember it! Seriously, it’s just great to work here.

SK: How long?
PB: Twelve years with Bob at Jacquart Fabric Products and two years now at Stormy Kromer.

SK: What do you do when you’re not making great outdoor gear?
PB:
Well, my husband is an avid fisherman, and I’m not. So I sit in the boat with my historical romance novels.

SK: What’s your single favorite Kromer item?
PB:
Petal Pusher, hands down. My husband, Rick, wears the original and always has. But they put that flower on there, and it’s adorable!

SK: We talk about being “True. Since 1903.” What does that mean to you?
PB:
We’re true to the American way of doing things. True to the legend and what we believe a legend should be. True to the craft and to old-fashioned standards. We’re authentic in everything we do.

SK: Anything else you want to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
PB:
We’re a happy little family here, and we all work together to make sure Stormy Kromer gear is an exceptional value. We take an extreme amount of pride in our work.