Tag Archives: tradition

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: 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.

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.


Bob visits the Kromer Kap Kulture Klub

Some of our loyal blog readers may remember a post from a few years ago when we introduced you to the Kromer Kap Kulture Klub.  Well, we’re happy to say that this year, our CEO, Bob Jacquart, joined them for a meal.

A brief refresher: The Klub is a group of men who gather each year at a no-power, no-plumbing log cabin north of Gleason, Wisconsin for deer season.  All Klub members, of course, wear a Kromer.  Members receive an official Certificate of Membership, plus honorary, non-voting stock in Kromer Kap Kulture Klub, LLC.

Bob had promised the Klub that one day he would bring pasties to the cabin for dinner. This November on a -6 degree night, he did just that, and took some great pictures that we would like to share. The first photo shows Bob (center) with two members of the Klub.

This next photo shows the full Kromer Kap Kulture Klub.  Notice the one young man on the left, the only one with a red cap?  That indicates he’s a Klub rookie – next year, he’ll be allowed to wear a black cap and the red one will be saved for the next rookie.

Bob brought pasties as promised, and brownies for dessert.  Since there is no oven in the cabin, Bob had to bring them preheated.

Also revealed that night was new plaque that would be set into the sidewalk come springtime, commemorating the 30 year anniversary of the Kromer Kap Kulture Klub.  The plaque was a surprise to everyone except the man who made it that night.

We love to hear stories of fans who truly embrace the Kromer legend, and who even make it a part of their family and community traditions.

Do you have any Stormy Kromer traditions to share?

Naming Plaids for Fall 2014

Well, Stormy Kromer fans, it’s time for another edition of naming plaids.  These posts always garner so many great responses and we love hearing your creative ideas.

So without further ado, let’s get right down to business.  As usual, we’re just showing the plaids but not revealing which products they will be used in.

You can see that these two are the same basic pattern, just in different colorways.  One with a light charcoal base, one with olive.

This one stands on its own.  Green background with pinks, purples and teals.

Well, what do you think?  Let the creativity begin!!

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??

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.

Featured Stormy Kromer Retailer: Alice’s Wonderland

Stormy Kromer Dealer Alice's Wonderland

We’re about as far from the mall as you can get.

You don’t have to be an outdoorsy person to shop at Alice’s Wonderland, but you do have to travel through a good deal of rural Pennsylvania countryside to get there. And when you’ve gone far enough to think you’ve gone too far, keep driving. You’re almost there.

You see, when you look at it the way the Karpiak family does (these are the fine folks who’ve run Alice’s for four generations now), you have to ask yourself: Where else would you put an outdoor store? In town?

The Karpiaks have a keen sense for what (and where) their store should be. Take Grandpa Paul, for example. When he bought the place in 1940 and named it after his wife, Alice, it was a restaurant. But because farm families didn’t tend to dine out all that often—and they did ask Paul to pick up a shirt or two when he went into the city for supplies—he decided to shift the focus of the family business to clothes and other outdoor gear.

“If it didn’t have a purpose, it went away,” said PJ Karpiak, Paul’s grandson and co-owner of the store. “That’s how Grandpa took care of things, and that’s pretty much how we still run the show today. We sell products that solve people’s problems, and if we don’t believe in the clothes or coats or boots or caps, we won’t put them on our shelves.”

Sometimes that means they don’t stock the latest fads, but that’s just what makes Alice’s Wonderland so popular.

“Our customers are the kind of people who spend their lives outside,” added Karpiak, “and they’re not going to come back if you sell them something that doesn’t stand up to their lifestyle.”

This philosophy stems from a belief in serving the customer the way shopkeepers used to. Because, as the Karpiaks say, “You can buy anything you want on the internet (at Alice’s website, in fact) but you visit the shop for a reason. To be helped.”

This philosophy is also the reason Alice’s now sells Stormy Kromer wool caps and clothes.

“Kromer fits us perfectly. It’s a great product with a great history, and when people say ‘You can’t find anything good that’s made in the USA,’ this is what I show them.”

And when you find our way out to Alice’s Wonderland, you’ll know the trip was worth it.