Loading
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

PRENTICE/OGEMA - Prentice High School senior Aubrey Edinger likes making art with all different kinds of materials. She makes pottery, oil paintings, acrylic paintings, and drawings, among other works.

But it was a sculpture with polymer clay that earned her all-conference recognition in a recent Northwoods art show. Her "Fight Scene" piece was selected as one of the best in the Marawood Conference.

+ Read More

MADISON - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he has obtained data that proves university tenure means jobs for life.

Vos released an email Thursday that UW System State Relations Director Jeff Schoenfeldt sent to his office this week in response to a request for historical tenure data. Schoenfeldt said that six tenured faculty have been dismissed for cause system-wide between 1996 and 2015.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Republican National Committee says it plans to add 250 additional staffers in battleground states, including Wisconsin.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Inside a Northland Pines fitness room, the laughter comes a little easier than the exercises.

"By god, we have a good time," Denise Simon said with a laugh.

Twice weekly, more than a dozen women sweat, strain, and snicker their way through the "Strong Women" fitness program at the high school.  It's a lively an atmosphere Denise Simon says keeps her coming back.

"This is just as important physically and socially equally," Simon said.  "And then to be dropped into this group of women, there's where the gift is."

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - A ranch in Eagle River will be giving back this summer while serving delicious food.

Kula Ranch is partnering with different charities, raising money through farm-to-table breakfasts.

Each Sunday morning breakfast will support a different charity. The meals will either be homemade with food from the farm or locally sourced.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin voters will likely need to show an ID during the August primary.

A federal judge is hearing challenges to Wisconsin's voter identification law.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson says the rules for the August primary election will be the same as they were for the April presidential primary.

+ Read More

Play Video

AMHERST - The small town of Amherst recently broke ground on a project to replace its aging dam.

The dam was built on the Tomorrow River decades ago to power the local feed mill.

But now the Wisconsin DNR believes the structure does not meet it's 500-year flood criteria, so it gave the town a choice.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here