Sunday, September 25, 2011

A couple weeks ago, we enjoyed an afternoon visit to Port Washington from Mike Allen, the great grandson of Allen Edmonds’ founder, Elbert Allen, and therefore also the grandson and son of Bert and Boyd, the next two generations of family leadership. After Mike toured our manufacturing facility with Jim Kass, our Head of Operations, we all enjoyed a great conversation about the intertwined history of his family and the company. Mike brought in a couple photos from back in the late 1950s -- including the Christmas Card (pictured below) of Boyd, Mrs. Allen and the kids with their AE shoes kicked up on the fireplace wall for all to see. Absolutely priceless.

On his tour, I think Mike was pleasantly surprised at how little the manufacturing process has changed. Yes, we’re more efficient based on our volumes and some workflow engineering, but we still manufacture all of our shoes by hand in the same 212 steps that have been the basis for handcrafting Allen Edmonds shoes since the beginning in 1922. (For more information on how we make our shoes, take a look at our newly designed website, and click on the “Craftsmanship” tab). And now we employ over 750 people in our company, most of whom work in Port Washington, just 8 miles from the town of Belgium where Elbert Allen first stated.

Building on the Allen Family legacy, I am pleased to announce the Third Annual Allen Edmonds “Rediscover America” Customer Appreciation Event (aka our Big Fall Sale), which runs September 26th through Columbus Day, October 11th. In addition to saying thank you to those whose loyalty has carried us since 1922, we’re celebrating all American manufacturing and workers, and the quality, craftsmanship, style and service that “Made in USA” has always meant to AE customers at home and abroad. During the sale, our products will be offered at least at 14.92% off (Columbus, you know) in all of our own retail stores, on our website, and through 400 participating Allen Edmonds dealers nationwide. A select list of 12 of our most popular styles of shoes and some accessories will be offered at much bigger savings, too.

Ok, enough plugging and bold font… At the end of our time with Mike, I mentioned that since January 2010 we’ve added over 120 jobs right here at our manufacturing facility in Port Washington. Mike said his great grandfather would be proud. His smile spoke volumes about the Allen family and our work. It makes me especially proud of all of my colleagues, whose dedication and commitment to great American ideals are leading this great company to new heights today.

As always, thank you for your support of Allen Edmonds, and of American manufacturing. It’s because of you that we have been able to continue to create jobs right here, about a snowball’s throw from where Elbert Allen first started in 1922.

Best Wishes,

Paul D. Grangaard
President & CEO
Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation