Magnum Acquires U.S. Footwear Factory

Magnum USA, a division of Hi-Tec Sports USA has acquired Falcon Shoe Manufacturing Co. and its historic Lewiston, Maine footwear factory. The move all but secures the future of the factory’s current labor force, and has already resulted in the addition of two positions. Updating and revitalization of the factory will begin promptly. Magnum intends to implement the “Just-in-Time” inventory management, improving quality and productivity. Additionally, Falcon is one of three footwear factories in the United States with ISO 9000 approval, a worldwide quality management standard.

“This is the best way for us to control our own destiny,” said Hi-Tec president and CEO Paul Brooks in a conversation with The B.O.S.S. Report. “The factory wasn’t in a position to handle our increased demand. The opportunity presented itself and we had the need.”

Magnum has been specifically targeting sales to the U.S. Government, the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, for quite some time now. In February 2004, the company was approved by the USPS as an official footwear vendor. The military is also a big opportunity for the brand, along with a focus on first-responders.

Brooks told BOSS that the factory has two lines in operation now, but he expects to double the capacity in the next 18 months. “The space and the equipment is already there,” he said. “It’s simply a matter of adding personnel as we ramp up over the next few months for Magnum.” He described the acquisition and the opportunity it presented for local workers as “a ray of sunshine” for the community.

Magnum currently produces about 10% of its boots in the U.S., a number that Brooks sees getting as high as 50% depending on the programs it secures with the U.S. government.

The factory currently produces footwear for private label programs as well as other brands. Brooks said he saw no reason they would cease that production. He did they will also use the plant for some high-end Magnum product and some high-end Golf product, but saw no immediate need to use the factory for H-Tec boots, a prospect he didn’t completely dismiss for down the road.

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Teresa Hartford

Teresa Hartford Editorial & Creative Director | SGB Media teresa@sgbonline.com | 704.651.5741

Magnum Acquires U.S. Footwear Factory

Magnum USA, a division of Hi-Tec Sports USA, is proud to announce the acquisition of an historical Lewiston, Maine footwear factory, Falcon Shoe Manufacturing Co. Transfer of assets occurred on March 1, 2005. Magnum will begin producing Made-in-USA footwear effective immediately.

As the global industry leader in uniform and work footwear, the acquisition reflects Magnum’s commitment to perpetual growth, and deep-rooted dedication to the United States. Magnum President and CEO Paul Brooks commented on the purchase. “Magnum is proud to manufacture footwear for those who protect and serve our country. With this opportunity, we look forward to growing as a US manufacturer and creating new jobs. This is an exciting day for Lewiston and Magnum.”

Chairman and Founder Frank van Wezel stated, “I am very happy that Magnum is able to reverse the trend by investing in a footwear factory in the USA. This is very good news for the global company and will give us the opportunity to sell ‘Made-in-USA’ product worldwide”.

Magnum’s acquisition has secured the jobs of the factory’s current labor force. Two additional management personnel have been hired, and further hires are planned on expansion of the business. Updating and revitalization of the factory will begin promptly, applying Magnum’s worldwide expertise and ultimately resulting in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Magnum intends to implement the “Just-in-Time” philosophy of manufacturing standards, improving quality and productivity.

For the past year, Magnum has manufactured certified Made-in-USA footwear for US Postal Service employees. Strict US Navy specifications require the footwear be produced entirely in the United States. Manufacturing of the top-selling Postal Collection will be transitioned into the Lewiston factory. Magnum will also pick up the production of boots for a number of outside customers currently utilizing the factory, and will seek additional private-label business.

Ironically, where other companies started out manufacturing in the United States and moved production overseas, Magnum started out producing overseas and is now able to bring the production back to the United States.

The historic Roy Continental Mill Building was a bustling part of the legendary New England textile industry that began in the 1850’s and ran strong into the 1960’s. During those boom times, Lewiston and Auburn, Maine were known as the top shoe and bootmaking cities in the world.

Falcon Shoe Manufacturing Co. has a strong and reputable history. It was the first factory to produce Timberland boots and the first to make polyurethane direct-attach boots in the US, now a common workboot technology. It is one of the few US factories with approval to produce National Fire Protection Association boots. Additionally, Falcon is one of three footwear factories in the United States with ISO9000 approval, a worldwide quality management standard.

Over time, as higher costs of manufacturing in America drove the majority of footwear production off shore, Lewiston manufacturing declined. Falcon Shoe Manufacturing Co. was forced to lay off over 75% of its workforce.

With the announcement, Lewiston Mayor Lionel Guay said “Lewiston is pleased and excited to welcome a world class company like Magnum into the community. The attraction of such a high caliber company speaks to the quality of Lewiston’s work force, and the aggressiveness of the City and State of Maine’s business attraction efforts and programs.”

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