Red Wing Shoe Company, the U.S. parent company of Vasque and other brands, recently held its shareholder meeting, where it announced sales for the most recent fiscal year and discussed future plans. Group revenues for the year ended in November 2010 increased by 12 percent to $448 million, according to a report on the meeting in SportsOneSource.
Last year Red Wing hired 315 new employees, bringing its workforce count to 2,200. This is a rebound after a period in 2009 when it said it would have to close its Kentucky plant, offered early retirement packages and temporarily halted a second work shift at the Red Wing plant. The second shift was reinstated last year, and said that it would keep the Kentucky plant open, though with a smaller staff.
In the next five years, the company plans to open 125 new independent dealership stores; it already 425 shops, with about two-thirds of them being independent dealerships. Dealers don’t pay any franchising or royalty fees, but they do have to sell Red Wing products. Besides its popular Red Wing casual boots, the company also makes footwear under the Irish Setter, Vasque, Carhartt and WORX brands.
The company’s main American audience, blue-collar workers, were still suffering from high unemployment rates, but it is gaining ground overseas, especially Japan and Europe.
In an effort to inform customers about how Red Wing products are made, the company has teamed up with an agency, Brew Creative, to create four behind-the-scenes videos that tell the company’s story.
The first video starts in the factory, showing employees working by hand using specialized equipment. The final video covers the transportation of the raw materials across the Great Lakes to the factory will they will be processed.