Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of JulyThe "Fourth of July” and “Made in the USA” are two weighty phrases for Americans. I’m a bit of a history fanatic, and in the past couple of years I’ve read some of the outstanding newer books about the founding of our country and its early years. Among the slow-moving pile on the nightstand, David McCullough’s John Adams and his 1776 have both offered fascinating revelations about how the United States of America came into being, guided often miraculously by Providence. In addition to the horrific wars fought, lives lost, twists of fate, sudden changes in weather and heroic feats that created our country and then, ever since, defended it, I find it also amazing to read of the learned debates, the personal perseverance and the incredible wisdom that were required to create a nation so well worth preserving.

American industrial achievement is also a huge factor in our history. Like so many of you, I’m stunned by the number of great U.S. manufacturing companies that no longer actually manufacture anything in the U.S. We all understand the cost advantages of low-wage countries, but we also know that there’s much more than low wages that go into being successful in business. Creativity, ingenuity, commitment to excellence, common employee dedication and, most important, listening and delivering what customers want and need are what drive success. That’s what we’re all about at Allen Edmonds today. While 90% of all shoes bought in America are imported, we still offer Made in the USA. We intend to continue earning our customers’ faith and support by delivering what they want and need – authenticity, superior value, long-lasting quality, diverse product offerings and excellent styling.

Don’t you sometimes wonder what Washington, Adams and Jefferson would think if they could see the USA now? I’m sure they’d be immensely proud of American successes over the 12 generations since those scorching summer debates in Philadelphia. They would indeed see the “shining city on a hill” that has done so much to advance humankind in that time frame, and they wouldn’t expect anything like perfection. But I think they’d look at our economy today and want to give us a good swift kick.

We feel that kick here at Allen Edmonds. We greatly appreciate the guidance and support of our customers, who are the whole reason we’re here. To them, our suppliers, our other business partners, our communities and our employees…Happy Fourth of July! and Thank You! for your dedication. We are so fortunate to live in this country.

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend!

Best wishes,

Paul D. Grangaard
President & CEO
Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation