Made in the USA Converse Story - March 31, 2011

Back in the day, Converse shoes were produced in the United States in Lumberton, NC.  Recently a friend asked...Didn't you go to the Converse United States Warehouse in Lumberton, North Carolina during it's closing in 2003?  Yes. I was there with one of my partners.  It was the most depressing 4 hours in my retail career of 33 years.

We saw the last 90 employees being released from their jobs, some after being at that Converse All Star plant for over 40 years.  That was the month the shoe industry died in America.

One lady who was over 60 and looked like she was 90 had one job all day long.  She would load cases of shoes one pair at a time from the finished production line to the cardboard box awaiting shipping to dealers like ours at American Athletics.

Sadly, she told us it was the only job she had ever had.  Many employees had no high school diploma, and nowhere to go from there.  The Converse closing was devastating to the town of Lumberton.

Management told us that the warehouse produced over 15,000 pairs a day, everyday in the early years, but was producing less than 600 pairs a day in the last few months before closing in 2003.  I was privileged to visit this facility, but it took it's toll on me.  The site of those people still is with me.

Today, Converse shoes are produced overseas in Asia.  Converse is also projecting annual sales of 4 billion dollars over the next few years.  A far cry from the 500 million in the 90's, but the bitter price of change was very high to the American Public. Retail in 2012 will be $50.00 for the Canvas Chuck Taylor our father's and grandfather's wore to high school.

One bright spot for our web store was the purchased of hundreds of USA Made Chuck Taylor All Stars which included many one of a kind samples which were never produced.  Converse Jack Purcell, and the BB 500 along with The Canvas Chuck made in the USA were part of this purchase.  All but a few have been sold to great American's like you during the past 8 years. GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Gary Church
A Chucknut