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History Lesson: Rocky Boots
With America slowly bouncing back from a recession, reflecting on a company that was born during the Great Depression seems rather fitting. While a strange time to begin building a business, Rocky Brands Inc., formerly Rocky Shoes & Boots Inc., was not alone in its climb to success while a nation wallowed in financial despair.
And when Godman Shoe Co. went under in 1932, instead of joining the end of the unemployment line, brothers William and F.M. Brooks found an empty shoe factory in Ohio and set up shop.
In the timeline below, follow Rocky boots’ footsteps through the company’s ups and downs during the past 77 years.
- 1932 – The William Brooks Shoe Company is founded in Nelsonville, Ohio.
- Mid-1930s – The company produces 2,000 pairs a day with 225 employees.
- 1940s-1950s – More than a million boots are produced for WWII and the Korean War.
- 1958 – Irving Drew Shoe Company buys the family business from William Brooks.
- 1975 – John Brooks, William’s nephew, buys back the company for $640,000.
- 1977 – John’s son Mike wins an award for the original Rocky boot.
- 1983 – Rocky’s occupational shoes for police officers and mail carriers enter the market.
- 1988 – Annual revenue reaches $20 million.
- 1991 – The company goes public, and its name is changed to Rocky Shoes & Boots.
- 2004 – Rocky Shoes & Boots obtains EJ Footwear for $87.7 million.
- 2005 – A Rocky Outdoor Gear commercial (below) runs showing an enthusiastic hunter who later claims to have “never hunted a day” in his life.
- 2006 – Company adds Zumfoot shoes and Michelin footwear, changes name to Rocky Brands, Inc.