Loading

64°F

61°F

63°F

61°F

65°F

63°F

67°F

62°F

60°F

67°F

63°F

64°F
Search
NEWS STORIES

A Northwoods Tradition, Made Right HereSubmitted: 03/20/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Too many times, Minocqua-area fishing guide Greg Bohn has heard the stories of tragedy.

A parent on Wisconsin waters jumps in to try to rescue their child, who is in the water without a life jacket. But the parent, also not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), drowns, even if the child survives.

It happened in July on Shawano Lake in Shawano County, and on Minocqua Lake a few years ago.

"Accidents can happen in seconds, and there's total chaos and emergency," Bohn says while touring Minocqua Lake on his fishing boat.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Prosecutors want to prove a Stevens Point man put many people in danger by allegedly taking part in a shootout last month.

Brian Fisher, 35, was in court Thursday. He faces multiple felony counts of recklessly endangering safety and one count of having a gun as a convicted felon.

Police say Fisher shot his gun at 36-year-old Morgan Sykes on July 8th at It's Our Clubhouse bar. They say they used video from a surveillance camera to identify Fisher in the shooting.

+ Read More

Play Video

ROANOKE, VA - A former colleague killed a reporter and photographer on live television in Virginia Wednesday. 

Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed.

Police say a former reporter Vester Flanagan killed them.

Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed was hurt.

+ Read More

MERRILL - A local technical college wants to make sure first responders get all the training they need.

That's why NTC in Merrill wanted a rail car.

First responders can use the car to learn how to handle derailments and crashes.

NTC leaders think Merrill is a good place for the rail car.

+ Read More

MERRILL - A new first aid kit will help Merrill's K-9 unit stay safe.

It was a donation, and all they needed to do was post a picture on Facebook.

The kit was donated through the We Ride to Provide organization.

+ Read More

TOMAH - The troubled Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center will be making changes to address staff shortages.

The VA will be temporarily closing hospital's 11-bed inpatient psychiatric unit.

It has stopped admitting new patients.

The VA's Matthew Gowan believes the two patients currently in the unit likely will be discharged before the September 4th closure.

Any veteran requiring psychiatric treatment will be transferred to VA facilities in Madison and Milwaukee, or to non-VA hospitals.

Tomah VA Medical Center also plans to suspend psychiatric admissions to its residential long-term care facility until additional staff are hired.

The nursing home will continue admitting veterans with non-psychiatric needs.

Hours for the Urgent Care clinic will be permanently reduced.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

+ Read More

GREEN BAY - Two people have been found dead inside a vehicle that apparently crashed into a Green Bay tire shop, which was destroyed by fire.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here