A short story of how a Stormy Kromer saved a life.

Hats off to Phil Beatty. No, wait—hats on. Definitely on.
A short story of how a Stormy Kromer saved a life.

Well, this is a first. Even for us. We’ve had people get married in their Kromer caps. We’ve had people get buried in their Kromer caps. But we’ve never had a cap save someone’s life.

Until Phil Beatty went for a drive in Findlay, Ohio, on January 24th.

Phil is a Federal meat inspector, so he covers a lot of ground in and around Hancock County. And on this snowy morning, he was on his route when a snowplow snagged a small but heavy road reflector and flung it through the windshield of his van.

It was just one those things: unfortunately timed and uncannily accurate. Phil was struck from chin to forehead by the 10-pound projectile. It split his skull, caved his sinus cavity, and poked right through into his frontal lobe above the eyebrow. It also sent him into a two-week coma.

It didn’t, however, do all the damage it could have done.

The thick brim on Phil’s olive-colored Original
(the one he wears for “dress,” as opposed to the Rancher he wears for work at home)
was just enough to stop the reflector
from causing a mortal wound.

According to Phil’s friend, Dave Rupple, “If that puncture had gone any deeper, it would’ve killed him. The bill on his Kromer saved him, I’m sure of it.”

After a drugged and difficult month in the hospital, then an intensive, six-hour-per-day therapy schedule at Ohio State University, Phil is now doing well in outpatient therapy. He’s walking, talking and thinking about retiring.

That sounds like a pretty good plan to us, Phil, and we humbly tip our caps in your honor. We’re proud you wear a Kromer, and we’re happy to hear you’re doing well.

The first day of spring (theoretically)

According to my calendar, it’s the first day of spring.

According to this photo, it is not.

This photo was taken just minutes ago looking out one of the windows in our breakroom. That’s snow you see, built up and blocking most of the window.  To be fair, some of it is from drifts and some may be from the last time we shoveled the roof, but nevertheless, there is that much snow piled up on the side of our building.  On March 20.

Here’s a few more photos I snapped this afternoon:

When you live in an area called Big Snow Country and work for a company like Stormy Kromer, you end up having very mixed feelings about snow in March.

  • Positive:  People still need to buy warm winter clothing this late in the season, which is great for sales!
  • Negative:  At this point, we’re all kind of sick of wearing our warm winter clothing. Except our Kromers, of course (we’re never sick of them), but we would be okay with switching to a lighter version, such as the Waxed Cotton or Field Cap.  We’re definitely ready to put the Ranchers away for a few months.
  • Positive: We can still participate in fun, cold-weather activities such as downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowmobiling.
  • Negative:  We still have to participate in not-so-fun cold-weather activities such as shoveling and plowing.
  • Positive: When the sun shines and sparkles on the white snow, it’s like living in a snow globe.  It’s beautiful.
  • Negative:  When the sun does make it’s way out from behind the near-constant cloud cover, it’s shining on the March variety of snow – the dirty, muddy variety.

All kidding aside, we do love winter.  We wouldn’t be who we are without it.  And so, with the official first day of spring, at least theoretically we bid a fond farewell to our favorite season.

So, what do you think about this year’s lingering winter?

Handmade by Him: Dan Pavlovich, dreaming of plaid.

Up next in our series of employee features is Dan Pavlovich – a longtime employee who grew up with Bob Jacquart, and now plays a key role in product design and development.

Stormy Kromer Design
SK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
DP:
Wow, what haven’t I done? I started at the front desk with Bob’s mom (Bob Jacquart, the head honcho here at Kromer). I’d sit there with a sewing machine and a telephone—greeting customers, laying out patterns, sewing and answering calls. I graduated to R&D, so now I work with the prototypes and new designs.

SK: So what sorts of things have you designed?
DP:
Oh, I’ve worked on a little bit of everything, but I did the tote bag, messenger bag, overnight bags and developed the plaids for the shirts.

SK: You came up with plaid? How do you come up with plaid?
DP:
I’ll just say you need a critical and artistic eye.

SK: How long have you worked for Bob?
DP:
I’ve been here since the old store on McLeod Avenue, which started out as Bob’s grandfather’s grocery store. It’s been 25 years for me, but I’ve known Bob since I was little. He lived one backyard away.

SK: Is that how you got the job?
DP:
Well, I went to college and got into costume design, then got out of it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to survive on that. Bob knew I could sew, though, so he hired me.

SK: Does costume design influence what you do today?
DP:
All the skills I have I learned in the theater in college. Sewing, colors, design—all of it. I did it all by hand and still do. I think that’s the best way to design—you really get a feel for what you’re making.

SK: How does it feel to know you’re helping stitch together a legend?
DP:
I really enjoy that. Everybody here has a hand in it, and no one has an ego. I’m very proud that we’re making people happy.

SK: What’s the best day you’ve had on the job?
DP:
Every day is my best day! (laughs) There’s truth in that, though. I really enjoy coming here. I won’t say that I don’t like leaving at the end of the day, but I love my job.

SK: What does “Made in America” mean to you?
DP:
It means we’re bucking the trend of making a fast buck.

SK: Anything else you’d like to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
DP:
Keep shopping! And just wait until you see the great gear that’s coming out next!