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A Northwoods Tradition, Made Right HereSubmitted: 03/20/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

A Northwoods Tradition, Made Right Here
IRONWOOD - You probably recognize the name "Stormy Kromer".

You probably also know what the recognizable hats look like from seeing them around the Northwoods.

But do you know where and how they're made?

George "Stormy" Kromer was a semi-pro baseball player and railroad worker in Kaukauna in the early 1900s.

But old Stormy had a problem.

"He worked on the Chicago-Northwestern line for a long time, and he kept losing his hats in the wind, riding the trains. He brought a baseball hat home and asked Ida to sew a band around the hat, and the Stormy Kromer was born," says Gina Thorsen, the Stormy Kromer Vice President.

Before long, they took off, and were being mass produced in Milwaukee.

But that business was about to die in the early 2000s.

To save it, an Upper Peninsula family bought the brand and moved the production to Ironwood.

"We find that people who have hats almost think of it as a special club. When you see someone else wearing a hat, you might walk by and say, 'nice hat'," Thorsen says.

Since the hats started being made in Ironwood, they've gained even more popularity.

That's allowed the company to branch out into womens' Stormy Kromers, as well as other cold weather apparel.

That success has made it a staple of the community's economy.

"Here in Ironwood, it's a small town. Industries have left. Businesses have closed. To us it's really important to be able to provide jobs here with benefits and to treat them well and to provide them a place where they can spend their career," Thorsen says.

About 150 people work for the company in Ironwood.

They make hats that have become a symbol for people in the Northwoods and U.P.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

CRANDON - Update 10:55 a.m. Friday

The death of a woman in Crandon earlier this week appears to have been a suicide.

25 year old Savanna Larson of Lac du Flambeau died early Wednesday.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on what appears to have been a suicide of a Lac du Flambeau woman whose body was found in a Crandon home following a report of a gunshot early Wednesday morning and leaving three people in jail.

At the close of the high school sports season, Lakeland Union High School had the most successful season of all the schools in the Northwoods. We'll review their season and talk with the Athletics Director and two student athletes about the school's success.

And in spite of all the recent rain, a Tomahawk area family is very excited about today's opening of their strawberry farm. We talk to them about the first day and about how the recent rain may affect the berry growth.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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