The first pairs of Florsheim shoes made by Milton and his father, Sigmund, were a remarkable combination of style, comfort and high quality workmanship.
Milton realized from the very beginning that a high quality product was only one of the factors necessary for success. He understood that a strong distribution network was the other key component and would be essential in making certain his exceptional footwear found its customers. Accordingly, he provided support that enabled a number of entrepreneurs to establish retail businesses which made Florsheim shoes readily available to the consumers in hundreds of small towns and villages across the nation.
Thus, the Florsheim company was formed on the breakthrough ideas of mass-producing shoes of exceptional quality, and the establishment of a strong, entrepreneurial dealer network. Not surprisingly, this combination was an immediate success.
Around the turn of the century, the company began exploring other innovative methods of distributing and selling its shoes that would enhance the already established network. These included expanding wholesale distribution to metropolitan areas around the country, and the opening of a series of company-owned retail outlets. These outlets became the Company's Flagship stores that displayed and sold the entire Florsheim product line. Now, the partnership that would help Florsheim grow from a small factory on Clinton and Adams Streets in Chicago into a brand and organization valued and respected all over the world was firmly in place.
Over the years, Florsheim innovation has continued, and the partnership has flourished. Committing considerable resources to research and development, the company has produced a continuous flow of product and distribution breakthroughs. These include significant new footwear design and manufacturing processes, as well as the pioneering use of new systems to make the selling of our shoes much more efficient. Using advanced electronic technology, we've recently created the unique "Florsheim Express Shop" which allows our retail partners to place the entire Florsheim stock line at their customer's fingertips.
Through strong ideas like this, we will continue to forge even closer partnerships with our loyal dealers. In addition, we will continue to deepen our understanding of our customers' lifestyles and needs. Our on-going research into improved comfort and fit will expand. Our unparalleled selection of styles and sizes will grow. And our commitment to quality will never falter. Because even with all our success, we have never and will never change the fundamentals upon which Milton Florsheim established his company.