If you met him, you knew him: George Kromer was genuine. And that’s the way he set up this company, even though he never set out to start one in the first place. All he wanted was a piece of outdoor gear that worked as hard as he did. Mr. Kromer had his wife stitch together the first cap by hand, and that’s how we’re still making them today. Everything we do, in fact—from the materials to our methods—is as authentic as that first cap. No, you can’t pretend to be a legend. It’s something you earn from your customers, and we’re mighty proud to be there.
After losing his cap-repeatedly-on the windy locomotive where he worked, George “Stormy” Kromer asked his wife, Ida, to stitch a new-fashioned baseball cap with a higher crown, a pull-down earband to keep it snug, and a soft, cloth visor.
The six-panel cap was so unlike the popular fedora, all of Mr. Kromer’s fellow engineers wanted one.
After selling 1,200 caps out of a factory in Milwaukee, the Kromers opened up their own shop in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. It consisted of three women and a run-down brick building.
When the ladies could no longer keep up with the desire for Kromer caps, Stormy Kromer was moved to a bigger facility, back in the big city. the factory was located on North Broadway in Milwaukee.
The company continued to grow, moving to larger facilities-twice-and employing an average of 25 to 30 workers.
A declining railroad industry hurt sales, so the Kromers created wildly designed cotton caps for welders and pipeline workers. Sales skyrocketed.
Six decades after starting Stormy Kromer, our founder’s health began to fail, and he passed the hat, if you will, to Richard Grossman.
Sales of the Original Kromer Cap continued to decline over the next 34 years.
Word got out that production was about to cease on the legendary Stormy Kromer cap. Bob Jacquart (owner of Jacquart Fabric Products in Ironwood, Michigan) heard the news, made a call to Milwaukee, and one month later, opened Stormy Kromer in its new home.
The Stormy Kromer Signature is embroidered on the back of the cap as a design element.
Recognizing that a cap can’t keep your whole body warm, the company expanded its line to include men’s coats, vests and shirts. Later that year, blaze orange and camouflage hunting caps were introduced.
The Ida Kromer Cap was born, featuring a shorter brim, more feminine colors and giving homage to the woman behind the man behind the legend. It was Ida, after all, who sewed the very first stitch.
The Ida Kromer line expanded to include a collection of flattering shirts for women and even more flattering vests to go along with them.
The Petal Pusher was invented, bringing a bit more beautiful functionality to an ever-expanding line of caps and clothing. In fact, it was the biggest ever for new SK products, including the debut of the Stormy Kromer Carryall—the first bag in our lineup.
We’ve been doing this for 111 years now, and while we’ve got a lot of new designs and ideas coming up, we’re not changing the way we do things. We’ll always be hand-crafted in America and made like you.