It’s 2018 and the Calgary Stampede Park saw millions of visitors over the weeklong event. For the last 40 years, patrons of ‘the greatest show on earth’ have had their boots crafted by the Alberta Boot Company. The company prides itself in making quality long lasting boots and manufacturing the boots here in Calgary at their factory in the city’s southeast.
In 1978, Clement (Clem) Gerwing started the company to address the need he saw in the city — quality western footwear. Since then, the company has not only been producing boots for Albertans but also customers, celebrities and even royalty from all over the world.
Today Clem’s grandson, Ben Gerwing, operates the business in the same location they’ve been at for the last 10 years.
The company is also the manufacturer of the high brown boots worn by RCMP officers across the country, but of course, it’s all about Stampede for the Calgary manufacturer.
“We manufacture boots all year round to get ready for Stampede,” says Ben Gerwing.
“There’s days where you can only build fifteen [or] twenty pairs in a day, and over the Stampede, there’s several days where we’re selling [over] one hundred pairs in a single day.”
From the 70's to now
The business also thrives on being a small, family-owned company. The business has been in the family since Ben’s grandfather started it in the late 70’s, Mary Goj, has been working for Alberta Boot since the beginning. She worked alongside Ben’s grandfather to help build the company.
“I’ve enjoyed the family type environment when his grandfather was running the company and his dad. We kind of built a company together and just enjoy being part of a family,” says Goj.
She thinks the future will continue to be friendly for the company.
“I think Ben is going to do a great job. He's more advanced in the computers and all of that. Things are looking right down the road with the RCMP hopefully things turning around in the city here [and] that we have a long future here," says Goj.
Hopefully, the successful small business will be making boots here in Calgary for years to come and will continue being a successful family business.
- By Nathan Woolridge and Brian Wells