Red Wing Shoe to Open 125 Stores in 5 Years

Following a tumultuous couple of years, the shoe company is set to grow as it experiences an increase in demand.

Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc., on Thursday announced plans to increase its number of stores by more than 20 percent during the next five years.

Plans involve the addition of 125 stores. There are currently 425 Red Wing Shoe stores, and nearly 70 percent of them are independently owned and operated.

The Red Wing-based company said that it has experienced an increased demand for its services as customers avoid big-box retailers in favor of the personalized experience of an independent retailer. The most successful Red Wing Shoe stores are those where a local owner is present and involved in the daily operation of the business, the company said.

“With more than 60 years of retailing experience, we remain committed to being the premier retail destination for work footwear,” David Murphy, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Our customers expect specialized solutions to their work footwear needs and deserve the convenience and customer service found at Red Wing Shoe stores.”

Red Wing Shoe stores operate as “dealerships,” so independent owners aren't required to pay franchise fees or royalties. People interested in owning a Red Wing Shoe store can learn more here.

Plans to significantly increase its number of stores represent a major turnaround for the company, which was forced toscale back during the recession. In late 2009, the company announced plans to close its Kentucky plant, offer early retirement packages, and eliminate a second work shift at its Red Wing plant, among other cost-cutting measures.

However, the company resumed its second shift and added positions in May, and it said in August that it would retain its Kentucky facility with a smaller work force.

Red Wing Shoe is a privately held company that has manufacturing facilities in Red Wing; Potosi, Missouri; and Danville, Kentucky. It distributes its shoes in more than 100 countries.