MERRILL, WI, June 8, 2012—If you could walk a mile in our shoes you’d see that they follow the footprints of hard working folks who believe in making exceptional shoes and boots, right here in the USA. You’d also find a path stretching back 120 years to Water Street in Milwaukee where Albert H. Weinbrenner started making his first pair of shoes.
In 1892, 27 year-old Weinbrenner, the son of a cobbler, and his business partner opened a shop and later started manufacturing shoes. They grew to become industry leaders by using tools, techniques and methods exclusive to their production. By 1916 they were producing 20,000 pairs daily of men’s and boy’s shoes.
The Thorogood brand debuted in 1918 and thrust Weinbrenner into mass markets across the country with branches opening in major cities including New York, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco. The decades to follow would bring new products, new partnerships, consolidations, market opportunities and leadership transitions. Patents were developed and production supplied trends in shoes and boots for work, military, sport, casual, youth and men’s footwear. Quality and American manufacturing remained steadfast through it all.
Weinbrenner’s future outlook is just as bright as the past. Pat Miner, newly appointed company president, is focused on bridging these successes to the years ahead. “We’re part of something so rare in today’s ever-changing business environment,” Miner said. “Our 120th anniversary is an exciting time for all of us who work at Weinbrenner because it’s our chance to put our stamp on the future. Change is truly underway as we see more markets demanding American made shoes and boots. As always, we’re on target to respond with industry-leading footwear, quality manufacturing, superior service and on-time shipping.”
To commemorate the company’s monumental anniversary, Weinbrenner is rolling out a new Thorogood 120th Anniversary Collection of domestic, rugged footwear. A contemporary version of the Thorogood box design features our all-American stars and stripes and will represent the ever-trusted Thorogood brand moving forward.
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“Countless Weinbrenner employees have spent entire careers designing, developing and introducing new footwear to the marketplace. Like Sue and Kris Rehwinkel, sisters with almost 100 years of service, everyone on the Weinbrenner team is part of reinforcing the tradition of quality workmanship,” Miner said.
As “head-coach” and president, Miner looks forward to guiding the company into a new century and is ready for challenges presented by an uncertain economic climate. He’s passionate about making the company even better for all who are part of it, both union members and non-union alike.
“The road ahead looks bold and stealthy for Weinbrenner and our loyal customers who have come to rely on our footwear,” Miner said.
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1892 – The Weinbrenner Shoe Company story begins
1918 – Thorogood trademark is registered
1936 – Marshfield production plant opens
1937 – Plant opens in Merrill, home of current headquarters
1938 – Introduction of first safety toed boot retailing for $3.10
1942 – Shifts from civilian production to combat boots and Navy shoes
1998 – ISO-9001 certification
Weinbrenner has been a pioneering force in the American footwear industry since beginning operations in 1892 in Milwaukee, Wisc., initiating many of the safety and job-fitted designs that are common today. Thorogood footwear is the most trusted brand in the uniform and work industry. Headquartered in Merrill, Wisc., Weinbrenner is employee-owned and is ISO 9001 certified. Visit weinbrennerusa.com for more information.