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Red Wing Shoe Co. turns 100 in 2005

Nobody turns 100 like Red Wing Shoe Co.

The company celebrated its 100th anniversary with a year full of milestones and memories. The Shoe's century mark was capped off with a weeklong bash the end of July that drew Red Wing Shoe lovers and from all over the region.

Partygoers got to see the Red Wing debut of a giant 20-foot tall replica of the Shoe's popular 877 work boot model, which is now on display in the company's new retail store and museum on Red Wing's Main Street.

They also reaped the benefits of the company's first-ever warehouse sale. More than 30,000 pairs of the beloved Red Wing shoes and boots literally flew off the shelves during the multi-day deal.

That may explain how 2005 was one of the best years ever for company- and dealer-owned Red Wing Shoe Stores. The Red Wing Shoe Store - then in the Riverfront Centre -- also had its best retail year ever.

The Shoe also spent 2004-05 remodeling about 30 stores in its company and dealer networks.

The company owns more than 150 Red Wing Shoe stores in the United States. There are more than 250 independently owned stores and over 4,000 independent retailers and distributors in the world.

The new flagship store opened downtown in 2009.

Local workers got some good news this year as well. After cutting Plant 2's second shift in November 2009, the company announced in April 2010 it would bring back its second shift at Plant 2 in the Red Wing Industrial Park and hire 80 new workers.

Company officials said there was a turnaround in the market and sales for work boots were doing better than expected.

The decision to cut the second shift was prompted by a long lull in demand for work boots related to the downturn in the construction market. The company also closed its plant in Danville, Ky.

"Despite the winds of change, the legendary quality, craftsmanship and durability still remains synonymous with Red Wing boots," former Rep. Jerry Dempsey, R-Red Wing, said in 2005. "Red Wing Shoes has meant so much to this city and state for so many years."

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