Tag Archives: history

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.

In the Community: The Way We Worked

The Way We Worked Logo

Stormy Kromer is a proud sponsor of the upcoming exhibit, “The Way We Worked.” This traveling Smithsonian exhibit will be on display at the Downtown Art Place in Ironwood from April 4 through May 31, 2015. The exhibit explores the central role that work plays in our culture and traces the changes in workforce and work environments over the past 150 years.

For more information on the Ironwood presentation of the exhibit, click here. While you’re in town for the exhibit, be sure to stop by for the Stormy Kromer Factory Tour, where you can see how we work today!


Stormy Kromer selects Pale Morning Media for PR Support

Stormy Kromer Logo

Ironwood, Michigan (March 4, 2015) – Stormy Kromer, the iconic US manufacturer of boldly original headwear, apparel, and accessories, announced today the selection of Pale Morning Media as its national public relations partner.

Founded in 1903 in Michigan’s still-rugged Upper Peninsula, Stormy Kromer is known worldwide for its unmistakable “cap” … a brimmed hat with distinctive earflaps added for warmth and comfort. The brand’s growing collection includes additional original hat designs, men’s and women’s apparel, bags, and other accessories.

Stormy Kromer fans include generations of outdoorspeople seeking durability andwarmth; crowds of trendsetters attracted to American workwear as a fashion trend; and thoughtful consumers eager to support family-owned, made-in-America products.

“The Stormy Kromer story is being told every day in Ironwood, Michigan. It’s about family tradition, American quality and unquestionable style,” said Gina Thorsen, Stormy Kromer Vice President. “Pale Morning Media’s direct experience in promoting outdoor gear, lifestyle fashion, and Made-in-America manufacturing stories make them an ideal partner for the coming seasons.”

Pale Morning Media (www.palemorningmedia.com) is an independent consulting agency that drives sales by increasing the quality and quantity of brand visibility. Founded in 2001, Pale Morning Media has offices in Vermont and Maine, and supports a growing roster of brands in a diverse array of outdoor and lifestyle markets.

“It may seem obvious, but there’s only one Stormy Kromer. Only one brand that has created such a special product while still staying true to their family goals. Only one brand that is right in the sweet spot of the ‘cool American workwear’ movement. Only one brand that’s done all this while only strengthening their dedication to local manufacturing,” said Drew Simmons, president and founder of Pale Morning Media, adding “I can’t wait for my new hats to get here.”

The first Stormy Kromer hat was born in 1903 when the wife of George “Stormy” Kromer, a semi-pro baseball player and railroad engineer, affixed ear flaps to his old baseball cap to keep it in place while riding the rails in cold winter winds.

The current collection features new interpretations of the Original Stormy Kromer including the new women’s Button Up, which replaces the traditional front tie with an offset large button. Stormy Kromer’s apparel collection continues to expand with men’s and women’s made in the USA designs including jackets, vests, shirt-jacs, shirts, and layering pieces.

In fall 2015 Stormy Kromer is expanding its Legendary Partnerships program of brand collaborations with the additions of Harris Tweed and Wolverine. Stormy Kromer has created capsule collections that weave the best qualities of each brand with Stormy Kromer’s, resulting in distinctive timeless designs.

Stormy Kromer is available at specialty outdoor retailers nationally and online at www.stromykromer.com.

For additional media information, please contact Michael Collin at Pale Morning Media, michael@palemorning.com, 207.619.4253.

About Stormy Kromer:
Established in 1903, Stormy Kromer is an outdoor apparel company comprised of genuine, hardworking artisans who strive to provide classic, yet contemporary products with the same passion, purity and practicality as the first Stormy Kromer cap over a century ago. Located in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, today Stormy Kromer proudly continues its tradition of hand-crafting American made products and supporting American made jobs. For more information, visit www.stormykromer.com.


Meet Living Legend Finalist Chuck Brockman

Nominated by: Gary Strobel, friend & fellow board member
In 1989, Chuck founded Save Our South Channel Lights to help restore and rebuild two range lights in Lake St. Clair, Michigan that were built in 1859. For some context, that was before Abraham Lincoln was President or the zipper was invented. These lights were keys to the development of this region. One million dollars of merchandise passed through the area each day and the lights were essential to guide ships to the St. Clair River.

Painstaking volunteer hours and much dedication have brought the lights to their existing state. The front light remains to be restored and the rear light needs its keepers dwelling rebuilt. The rear light was restored in 2005 and maintenance continues. The group of 7 of us – led by Chuck – is dedicated and devotes many personal hours to come up with ways to raise money and to keep the lights in sufficient condition to hold weddings on the rear island. Chuck is 79 and does this all of this in the name of his late wife Scotty. Save Our South Channel Lights is an all volunteer 5O1(c)3 organization – 100% of money raised goes towards the restoration efforts.

Charity: Save Our South Channel Lights

Hometown: Harsens Island, MI

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!

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.

Bob and Stormy Kromer’s Baseball Bat

Stormy Kromer BatA few months ago, Bob got an odd voicemail message.  The caller stated that he had a ‘ceremonial’ baseball bat that had belonged to George Kromer and was wondering if anyone here at the company had an interest in it.

Indeed we did.

As it turns out, the bat was a part of George’s estate that had wound up with his estate attorney’s family.  After some negotiations involving Stormy Kromer apparel, the bat has found its way here to SK Headquarters.

The bat, a Louisville Slugger, has an inscription that reads:

Stormy Kromer BatYou can see the bat on display here at Stormy Kromer when you come for one of our free factory tours – offered Monday through Friday at 1:30 pm.

What’s a Kromerism?

If you follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, you probably have seen us use the word “Kromerism.”  So just what is it?

Simply put, a Kromerism is a comment George “Stormy” Kromer might make on the world of 2012.  A world far different than the one that caused him to invent the iconic cap.  We like to think he’d have something to say about things like smart phones, cubicles and 21st century fashion.

They started out as simple tweets (they’re the most popular thing we do on Twitter), and have now turned into graphics as well.  We may even turn a few into posters, so stay tuned.

These are a few of our current favorites.  Stay connected with us through all our social media channels to catch the new ones as they come out.

Now it’s your turn: what commentary do YOU think ol’ Stormy would make on the world today?

Featured Retailer: Mast General Store

Stop by and see what hasn’t changed in the last 129 years.

There’s an 80-year-old man in the village of Valle Crucis, North Carolina, who can’t remember a day he didn’t head down to Mast General Store for lunch—a plug of baloney and a cold glass of Yoo-Hoo.

He’s not alone. Most folks in this tiny, Blue-Ridge-Mountain town (and thousands more from the surrounding region) depend on the Mast Store for virtually everything a person needs for life. Shoes, socks, shirts and outdoor gear—plus things like jams, jellies, hand-made furniture and the sort of service you’d expect at the turn of the century.

Just not the last turn of the century.

Mast General Store opened in 1883 to take care of the friends and neighbors who farmed the surrounding lands. And even though generations of those farmers have turned into generations of city-dwellers, they continue to seek the authenticity the Store was founded on.

“We still ask our patrons what they need us to stock, and that’s what we put on our shelves,” said Sheri Moretz, Community Relations Manager for all nine Mast Stores. “It works like retail is supposed to: recognizing and caring about customers, welcoming them with conversation, keeping them as friends.”

Walk in the store and see it for yourself. The first thing you’ll notice is people playing checkers at the potbellied stove with bottle caps off a few old-fashioned Coca-Colas. The next thing you’ll notice is the Post Office, where Valle Crucis still gets its mail. After that, grab yourself a cup of coffee—it’s a nickel, and that’s on the honor system—then mosey up and down the aisles. (Literally up and down, too, because the floor isn’t so level after all these years.)

You can also take a seat on the liar’s bench out front, which is where many good tales are told.

“We love stories here at Mast Store,” added Moretz before diving into one about the time the Charles Kuralt came in for a visit. “He wrote an article about us and said ‘Where should I send you to know the Soul of the South? I think I’ll send you to Mast General Store.’ That was the 1980s, and people are still seeking that same experience.”

It’s these types of genuine, down-to-earth anecdotes that led the buyers at Mast Store to put Kromers on the shelves.

“Stormy Kromer’s got a great story,” said Moretz. “It’s authentic, and it shows we share the same values. This is a made-in-the-USA product that fits a modern need in a traditional manner. That’s what we are, too.”

Stop by, see for yourself, and spin a few stories of your own, at MastGeneralStore.com.