H.H. Brown Shoe Group

download

H.H. Brown Shoe Group is one of the leading manufacturers of work shoes and boots in the United States. The company has been in business since 1883 and although it has gone through some rough times, is a well-respected company with a good record of profitability.

The New England company offers a wide selection of shoes and is known for keeping its factories in the United States when many competitors moved overseas. The company has been part of Berkshire Hathaway for years and operates several subsidiary companies as well including Born Footwear, Sofft Shoe Company, and Kork-Ease LP, to name a few.

H.H. Brown Shoe Group produces premium shoes for not only personal use but also professional industries. It is one of the main manufacturers for military boots and also creates specialized shoes for other industries and hobbies including mining, EMS, bowling, nursing, hunting and recreational, military, and more. It also has a line of formal and recreational shoes. In addition to offering its products online, H.H. Brown shoes can be found at retail outlets around the world.

Brief History

H.H. Brown Shoe Company was founded by Henry H. Brown in 1883. The company’s first factory was established in Natick, Massachusetts. When it was founded, the company employed around 175 people and made around 2,000 pairs of shoes a day.

Over the years, HH Brown Shoe continued to expand, and Henry H. Brown eventually retired and sold the company to Ray Heffernan in 1927. Heffernan ran the company for 62 years and under his leadership, HH Brown grew and pioneered many innovations including the use of Gore-Tex in its shoe linings, now an industry standard for hiking boots.

By 1990, HH Brown Shoe operated four factories in North America and averaged an annual gross income of around $25 million. The company drew the attention of Berkshire Hathaway and was purchased by Warren Buffett in 1990 for $161 million.

As a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, HH Brown Shoe Group has continued to expand and make acquisitions, being careful to keep its factories in the United States. Although the company is known for its work boots, it creates shoes for every occasion including loafers, formal shoes, and even heels for the ladies. All in all, the company produces more than 700,000 shoes and boots annually.

< Back to Berkshire Hathaway>