Tag Archives: made in usa

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.

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.

randee2

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: 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!

Handmade by Her: Melissa Allen, making a Kromer a Kromer.

Up next in our series of employee features, meet Melissa Allen!

Stormy Kromer SewerSK: What’s your role at Stormy Kromer?
MA: I put the earband on the cap. It’s a big job, and I love it.

SK: What are you most proud of in your work?
MA: My favorite thing is to see people wearing our caps. That puts a smile on my face, and I think: I sewed that!

SK: So, do you have a sewing machine at home?
MA:
No, but my first job out of high school was in a sewing factory. I’ve been doing this awhile.

SK: What kind of person works at Stormy Kromer?
MA:
You’ve got to be an honest, hard-working, happy person to be here. If you don’t like your job, why do it? You’ve got to be happy with it, and I expect that all of us are.

SK: When we say “True. Since 1903.” what do you think that means?
MA:
To me, it means good clothes and outdoor gear that will last a lifetime. And it just keeps getting better and better as time goes on.

SK: What’s your favorite piece of Stormy Kromer clothing?
MA:
It’s the Original wool cap. I buy those for everyone—even one for my grandbaby who’s not here yet!—but I haven’t gotten around to picking one up for myself.

Sewing an earbandSK: What keeps you at Stormy Kromer?
MA: I like it here. I like what I’m doing. Believe it or not, I like to get up and come to work every day—I walk in with a smile on my face.

SK: What’s your best day so far?
MA: Oh, my first day. I’d been trying to get a job here for a year, and I was just so excited to start.

SK: What does “Made in America” mean to you?
MA:
When I look inside the cap and see the flag and “Made in the USA” label, I know people are getting good quality and that they’ll be proud to wear it. What we make will last their whole lives.

SK: Any other advice for the people who’ll read this?
MA: You’re gonna love Kromer gear. Go get some!

American Made Gift Ideas from Stormy Kromer Employees

Recently we asked our employees for ideas of their favorite American made products (other than Stormy Kromer, that is!).  With their input, we’ve put together a little gift guide for you to inspire your holiday shopping this season.

Sock Monkey KitWe’ll start with some fellow Midwestern companies.  Fox River Socks, located in Osage, IA, offers a full range of warm, comfortable, functional and fun socks for all your outdoor activities.  They’ve been manufacturing these fine foot covers in the Midwest since 1900.  In addition, they are the manufacturer of the Original Rockford Red Heel Monkey Sock.  They even offer a sock monkey kit!  At just $28, the kit includes everything you need to make one sock monkey.  A great project for crafters and their family!

 

 

Duluth PackOver in Duluth, MN, Duluth Pack has been making rugged and functional outdoor packs since 1882.  Like Stormy Kromer caps, these packs are built to last and guaranteed for life.  While you can’t go wrong with an Original Duluth Pack, we also love that they have added a modern twist to their traditional packs, like this Scout Pack complete with laptop sleeve.

 

 

 

Burt's Bees Essentials SetDid you know Burt’s Bees products are made in the USA?  KJ, one of our Division Managers suggested them, and on their website it states: Over 95% of our products are made right in our own manufacturing plant in Durham, NC. The rest are made by other respectable American manufacturers.  They offer a wide variety of gift sets for men, women and babies too, all at a wide range of price points.

 

Weber Q 100 GrillWhat better endorsement could you ask for than this?  “I have one of these, and it’s awesome,” says Jeremy from our IT department.  The Weber Q 100 portable grill packs 8,500 BTUs in a compact grill that is perfect for your next tailgate or picnic.  And of course, it’s made in the USA.

 

Classic ChapstickAnd last but not least, “America’s Favorite Lip Balm”, Chapstick, is also made in the USA.  Available virtually everywhere, it makes a great last-minute stocking stuffer.  We’ve got a few employees who swear by it up here in the cold and dry Upper Peninsula winters.

 

 

 

 

So – what would YOU add to our American made gift guide?

 

As Seen in Esquire: American Made

For anyone who may have missed it, Stormy Kromer was included in Esquire Magazine’s list of “Great American Things” in their December 2012 issue.  Number 17 on the list was the Stormy Kromer Night-Timer.

The full list of “Great American Things” can be seen at the Made Collection’s website – where you can also shop!  Please consider supporting American manufacturers this holiday season, and the Made/Esquire Shop is a great place to do so!

What are you buying American this holiday season?

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.

Inspected by Her: Eagle-Eye Jackson, also known as Lynn.

Lynn Jackson Stormy KromerSK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
LJ:
I’m one of three inspectors, and I make sure every cap that goes out is perfect. All the threads have to be cut off, the earband has to be straight, the monogramming needs to be good, no skipped stitches. Everything. On every cap.

SK: So how many caps is that for you?
LJ:
Well, in five years as an inspector (she’s been with the company for seven), that makes over half a million caps. Wow. I guess that’s why they call me “Eagle-Eye.”

SK: What’s the best day you’ve ever had on the job?
LJ:
We hit 612 caps in one day and every single one was perfect—not even a string to snip off.

SK: What’s the strangest day?
LJ: When nothing goes right. But, you know, that doesn’t happen too often around here.

Inspecting Stormy Kromer CapsSK: How does it feel to know you’re stitching together a legend?
LJ:
I feel like a movie star. I love it. I’ve already got my picture in the newspaper—me inspecting a cap. Got it up in my living room. I’m proud. I’m the one who gets to inspect and help make that cap. It says we’re doing a good job, you know?

SK: Absolutely. It says a lot about your standards.
LJ:
Yes. It’s gotta be 100%. There can’t be anything wrong with any of the gear that goes out our doors. So I look at it like I’m buying it. You don’t want a thread hanging off that you pull and it unravels. That’s not Stormy Kromer. No, it’s gotta be perfect.

SK: What does “made in America” mean to you?
LJ:
We’re the only sewing company around anymore. We love our jobs. We’re proud of this. And here, you get something sewn to perfection.

SK: Anything you else you want to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
LJ:
When you buy a cap, you know that Eagle-Eye has looked at it!