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April 22, 2015

Beneduci Fills the Shoes of Turn-of-the-Century American Boot-Makers

As immigrant shoemakers from around the world set up shop in early 20th-century America, they quickly discovered that unlike their previous European customers, Americans at the time weren’t as interested in purchasing fashionable dress shoes. The market was instead focused on sturdy work boots that protected the wearer on the factory floor. These makers of some of the world’s most beautiful shoes would have to adapt to survive in America.

The resulting shift brought about some of the finest work boots ever made. They became a symbol of the industrial revolution, progress and the American worker. But as the 20th century progressed, consumer demand changed to favor less expensive, mass-produced footwear. The craft of American boot-making was nearly lost – until people such as Frank Beneduci realized a resurgence in sentiment for locally produced, handcrafted, high-quality products. The grandson of an Italian-born craftsman, Beneduci leveraged his experience training with master cobblers in Milan to rekindle this nearly lost craft and open Beneduci Shoemakers in San Francisco.

Beneduci Shoes

Photo credit: beneduci.com

Beneduci went to great lengths to ensure quality and authenticity – even searching far and wide to secure original, American-made boot-making machines from the early 1900s for his manufacturing facility. Beneduci boots are built to last, not be replaced. And that’s why he believes his footwear is gaining in popularity.

For more information, visit beneduci.com.

April 8, 2015

One Town’s Trash Is This Woman’s Treasure

Pashon Murray could have had almost any cushy corporate job she wanted. As a highly recruited athlete, Murray attended the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University, where she began preparing herself for a corporate job. But she made an impression on her teachers, who realized her entrepreneurial potential and encouraged Murray to start her own business.

The Michigan native grew up with an interest in the environment and sustainability – most likely generated from her father’s waste removal company and their frequent visits to area landfills. Murray knew whatever endeavor she undertook would have to help improve her home state’s environment. With her diploma in hand, she returned to Detroit, and after exchanging ideas with a local urban farmer, she conceived the idea for her company, Detroit Dirt.

Photo credit: detroitdirt.org

Photo credit: detroitdirt.org

Detroit Dirt collects food scraps from corporations and local businesses, as well as manure from the Detroit Zoo, and converts these materials into valuable soil on its 2.5-acre composting facility. Then, they sell the product to farmers and home gardeners.

Diverting waste from landfills and creating a useful product. Sounds like a very sustainable and environmentally responsible business model, right? Only it doesn’t stop there.

Detroit Dirt partners with corporations to establish urban farms in inner-city communities, allowing residents to grow their own fresh produce. This helps to alleviate the food desert effect many disadvantaged neighborhoods experience. Murray also uses the company to demonstrate to corporations the social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable business practices.

Murray has big plans for Detroit Dirt, including investing in additional equipment that would allow them to accept more raw materials and offer more jobs to the community.

We thank Pashon Murray for all that she and Detroit Dirt are doing to improve the quality of their city.

April 1, 2015

Jacob Bromwell: An American-made Pioneer

As the pioneers rolled their horse-drawn wagons westward across the Great Plains in the mid-1800s, they carried with them frying pans, popcorn poppers and tin cups stamped with a brand that was already well established, with a reputation for dependable quality: Jacob Bromwell®.

Photo credit: jacobbromwell.com

Photo credit: jacobbromwell.com

Jacob Bromwell moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to the frontier town of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1819 to start The Bromwell Brush & Wire Company, making wire goods and housewares for his fellow pioneers. His first products were similar to what other stores offered – scrub brushes, rattraps and flour sifters – only Jacob’s products were meticulously crafted by hand with portions constructed on innovative machinery, which quickened his production. This brought him success – and by 1910, his company consisted of seven factories, boasting the largest capacity in the country.

While the company has changed locations over the years, it has always remained in the United States. In fact, there are few companies today that have employed only Americans for longer than Jacob Bromwell. All Bromwell products continue to be made with domestically sourced steel, tin, aluminum, copper, wood, iron and leather, contributing to their authenticity of being 100 percent American-made.

Jacob Bromwell is America’s oldest manufacturer of kitchenware, housewares and tin and stainless steel products. The company continues to credit its success to loyally following its original mission statement of producing “the highest quality cooking, baking and campfire products for American families.”

Learn more at jacobbromwell.com.