Dan Pavlovich, head of research and development for Jacquart Fabric, has worked for the Ironwood company for 27 years designing and sewing anything from upholstery to dog beds.
Founder, Bob Jacquart, began the small sewing business in 1958, and Pavlovich said the company has come a long way from working out of the back of a grocery store when he was first hired.
â??Weâ??ve just become so diverse since I first started,â?? said Pavlovich. â??Weâ??ve come a long way. Itâ??s just amazing to think of how little it used to be and how big we are now.â??
In 2001, the Jacquarts bought out Milwaukee-based cap line, Stormy Kromer, after hearing it would soon be out of production. The unofficial hat of the U.P. now is completely hand-made by some of Jacquartâ??s 125 full-time employees and comes in over a dozen different styles.
Vice President of Marketing and granddaughter of Bob Jacquart, Gina Thorsen, said the Stormy Kromer line is all about being rugged, outdoorsy, and American-made, capturing the true essence of the Yooper spirit.
â??Weâ??re big on being authentic with our brand, and it would seem inauthentic to not be here, and I think the hat is almost a symbol of that--of surviving outside, being outside, and being a little unique as well,â?? said Thorsen.
â??Itâ??s very hard, actually, to find a manufacturing company that is in the U.S. anymore, especially a cut-and-sew company,â?? Pavlovich added. â??You just donâ??t find that. Everything is overseas. Everything is imported. It just gives you a sense of pride in what you do and the place that you live in.â??
The iconic Stormy Kromer has expanded from the classic wool hat to include vests, coats, bags, and more. While keeping its roots in the U.P., the company is set on making the Stormy Kromer and Jacquart names known worldwide.
â??Weâ??re very set on growth,â?? Thorsen said. â??We have big plans of being a nationally-recognized outdoor brand.â??
â??At the end of the day, youâ??ve got to support the little businesses in the places that you live if you want them to keep going, if you want to keep going,â?? Pavlovich added.