Loading

-19°F

-19°F

-14°F

-19°F

-19°F

-20°F

-19°F

-8°F

-19°F

-23°F

-8°F

-19°F
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 - Students in one Northwoods school turned their classrooms into a "portal to the past" this week. Students took what they've learned about ancient civilizations and brought them to life for their peers and the community.

+ Read More

Play Video

WHITE LAKE - You still have time to guess when "Iron Mike," White Lake's winter tradition, will fall through the ice.

Iron Mike is a friendly mannequin that sits on White Lake throughout the winter. He disappeared for a few decades, but he's back in 2015.

+ Read More

Play Video

CRANDON - Prosecutors want a Wabeno man to go to prison for at least 30 years.

Justin Bey pleaded guilty on Wednesday to trying to kill a man in Forest County last March.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Six groups in Merrill that offer services to the community got a new home in February.

They moved to the Ministry Good Samaritan Campus.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - A 19-year-old Wausau woman faces charges for driving 13-year-old Isaiah Powell to the place where he was stabbed last Friday. Powell later died.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - The 25th and final Klondike Days will start in Eagle River this weekend.

The event is often called Wisconsin's #1 Winter Family Fun Festival.

+ Read More

Play Video

CRANDON - Hayes Metals in Crandon will see big changes over the coming weeks. Laona Machine Supply bought the repair shop on Monday.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here