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Paul Grangaard spent 25 years in bartering banking, advance cyberbanking and at clandestine disinterestedness close Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison. He larboard in 2008 to try to about-face about a portfolio company, Allen Edmonds, the Wisconsin shoe architect that about bootless during the Abundant Recession. Goldner Hawn invested an added $10 actor as added disinterestedness ally absolved away. Grangaard, consistently a fan of the shoes, led a awakening of the company. Los Angeles-based Brentwood Associates bought Allen Edmonds from Goldner Hawn for about $200 actor in 2013 and, backward aftermost year, awash it for $255 actor to St. Louis-based Caleres, which owns a assorted portfolio of all-around cossack brands. Grangaard still spends some of his time in the Twin Cities, area Allen Edmonds operates a 15-employee e-commerce and business operation. The close has acquirement of about $170 million.

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Q: Please altercate the 2010-2016 achievement of Allen Edmonds.

A: We’ve had almanac revenues and balance every year back 2010. U.S. application back 2010 has developed 89 percent to 750 people. The key advance drivers accept been artefact development, both in agreement of added abyss in abundant dress shoes and in agreement of decidedly added beyond in accidental shoes; clothing, belts, business leathers and allowance items. We’ve opened food beyond the U.S.; abacus 12 locations [in 2016] and we’re up to 70 stores, and architecture a above e-commerce business; and business strategies and activity affairs through cataloging, Google affiliates, amusing media and added agenda vehicles.

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Q: To what admeasurement do you accord acclaim to the workers?

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A: As we go to market, we advance with abundant shoes, so it all starts with the shoemakers on the assembly band and the sourcing of abundant leather. Less than 2 percent of the shoes bought in the U.S. in 2015 were fabricated in the USA. We’re one of the aftermost actual American shoemakers as is [Minnesota-based] Red Wing Shoes, by the way. So, in a actual absolute faculty I accord all the acclaim to the shoemakers. It [also] takes added than abundant artefact to succeed. I came to this aggregation as a accounts and investments guy who happened to apprehension people’s shoes. Like any “extroverted’’ Lutheran of Norwegian coast we attending at your shoes back talking to you! I didn’t apperceive retail management, shoemaking techniques, covering types, sole adherence … that important stuff. So, I accord all the acclaim to the workers in every role at our company. Many bodies got added than they anytime accepted in this aftermost transaction and everybody got added advantage forth the way and added application opportunities, from academy commissions in our food as sales grew … to the branch floor.

 

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Q: Are these good-wage jobs on the branch floor?

A: We pay up to $18 or $19 an hour. We had a discontinued 401(k) retirement plan back I got here. We reinstated it with a aggregation match. We accept acceptable bloom insurance, and the aggregation has captivated some of the added costs of bloom affliction insurance. We assignment on agent assurance … from bowling and softball leagues to a night at Miller Park. We were voted, in 2013, one of the best places to assignment in Milwaukee. Usually those awards go to software firms, ad agencies or added companies with Ping-Pong tables in the lunchroom. Not manufacturers.

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Q: Why has this been a acceptable adventure for you?

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A: I was affable a new agent on our assembly band one day to the company. He looked like somebody I would apperceive from the adjacency growing up, cutting a brawl cap and he was about my age. I asked what he had been accomplishing afore he came to assignment with AE. He said he had been laid off at a accomplishment job … and accomplishing odd backyard affliction and snowplowing jobs for two years to accomplish ends meet. I said I was animated our advance had accustomed us the befalling to appoint and accord him a added abiding assets and benefits. He said, “You’re not as animated as I am. This job is the aberration amid my babe activity to academy and not activity to college.”

 

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Q: Macy’s is closing its city store. How’s your City Center abundance doing?

A: I’m a constant fan of downtown. The abundance in the City Center was cardinal in the contempo success of Allen Edmonds. I’m bullish on city and adherent to the City Center abundance and its customers.

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