By Sheri Gassaway
South St. Louis – Hampton Shoe, the only company in the nation specializing in union-made, American-made work boots, is celebrating 25 years in business.
While the majority of the St. Louis company’s products are American-made work boots, it also offers safety shoes and some dress shoes. Owners Rob and Tricia Egan say 99 percent of their products are American made and 75 percent are union made.
Their selection includes:
• Belleville Boots – UFCW Local 655
• Carolina, Corcoran, Double H and Matterhorn – UFCW Local 1776
• Wood n’ Stream – UFCW Locals 688 and 717
Hampton Shoe also offers hand-selected American-made styles from Chippewa and Justin Work Boots (Carthage, Mo.), Justin (Fort Worth, Texas), Neil M Footwear (Wynne, Ark.) and New Balance (Boston, Mass.).
“I’ve never believed in outside manufacturing,” Rob Egan said. “My dad was a railroad worker and my mom was an accountant, and it’s always irked me that a such a huge part of the economy goes to companies in other countries.”
Egan said that for the first time in his lifetime, he’s noticed that American shoe manufacturing is a growing industry.
“A lot of our manufacturers are trying to expand, and they’re not just expanding by 2,000 feet, they’re expanding by 200,000 feet,” he said.
BY THE POWER OF
HIS OWN TWO FEET
Egan started out in the industry when he was just 14, working part-time at his sister’s shoe repair shop. While he was in college, he worked for Red Wing Shoes.
“In 1989, my sister heard about another shoe repair shop for sale,” Egan said. “I bought it, and through the years, it’s turned into a shoe store that offers repairs, as opposed to a repair shop with a few pairs of shoes for sale.”
A FAMILY BUSINESS
Egan’s wife, Tricia, joined the family business 10 years ago.
Today, she said, a lot of the company’s business comes through its website americanmadeworkboots.com.
To celebrate its 25th Anniversary, Hampton Shoe is giving away a free, American-made T-shirt, while supplies last, with any in-store footwear purchase.
For more information, call 314-481-7346 or visit www.americanmadeworkboots.com.
5101 Hampton Ave.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Website: www.americanmadeworkboots.com. [/box]