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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/28/2015

- After years of rumbling over potholes, drivers in Rhinelander will soon be able to travel smoothly over Lincoln Street. The city will completely resurface the busiest part of the road starting Monday. We'll have what drivers need to know.

- Veterinarians in the Northwoods have been treating more cases of heartworm in dogs lately. The illness can leave a foot-long parasite in your dog's body. We take a look at treatment and prevention.

- The Northwoods attracts campers from all across the state every summer. But tonight at 5, we'll introduce you to some Boy Scouts who ventured more than 3,000 miles to visit Langlade County.

- Learn more about spiny water flea, one of the newer invasive species in Northwoods lakes.

- And we'll look at the Wabeno Art and Music Fest, a first-year event coming up this weekend.

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

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NORTHWOODS - Heartworm can be deadly for a dog if left untreated.

Some veterinarians here in the Northwoods have seen a rise in dogs with heartworm lately.

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Lake levels across the Northwoods were down. Way down.

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Some Rhinelander teachers went to school Tuesday to learn about tools like coding and green screens. It's part of a week-long even called Hodag Tech Fest at James Williams Middle School.

It's the second year the school district has hosted the forum for classroom technology, and about 90 Rhinelander teachers and administrators will attend throughout the week. Some of the seminars cover iPads, Chromebooks, Smart Boards and coding. 

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This weekend, the town will host the first ever Wabeno Art and Music Fest. People in Wabeno say they have a unique passion for the arts.

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