The Pingree Story
More Than a Name: Hazen Pingree
Over a hundred years ago, Hazen S. Pingree changed the destiny of Detroit. As the owner of the second largest footwear company in the US, he created jobs for hundreds, including his fellow veterans. As a progressive mayor of Detroit during times of great adversity, he started urban farms, ended corporate and political corruption and restored the utility companies to public control. He worked hard to maximize the well being of the people he was elected to serve.
In that spirit, our Pingree company is teaching Detroiters, especially US veterans, new skills in industrial sewing, shoe making and leather crafting. We’re also teaching entrepreneurship, creating pathways for every maker on our team to become co-owners.
Employing Detroiters. Creating something beautiful and useful. We think Mayor Pingree would be proud.
Pingree Detroit. Handmade in Detroit in 1894. Handmade in Detroit now.
Why the Touch of Red?
The Pingree and Smith Shoe Company caught fire in 1887, destroying the entire facility. According to local lore, Hazen Pingree was so impressed by the efforts of the Detroit Fire Department that he adopted the "Fireman" campaign, which shows a fireman always ready to respond. Though the fire destroyed much of the factory, the Pingree and Smith company was able to recover and make shoes again. We pay homage to them while also lifting up and celebrating the service and sacrifice of all who serve by including a touch of red on a number of our products.
Each piece has character and purpose. Just like the people who make it. Right here, in Detroit.