IN 1930, SAMUEL J. KATZ, MY GRANDFATHER, BEGAN THE HUBBARD SHOE COMPANY, A SMALL CHILDREN’S SHOE FACTORY IN ROCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
He spent his life working with shoes, as did my father, Saul Katz, who entered the family business in 1943. Over the years, Hubbard grew to 900 employees and two factories, making shoes that quickly became known for fit, comfort and durability. As a family-owned business, we made footwear with a great deal of pride and attention to the smallest details.
In 1973 Hubbard Shoe closed its doors, as did many New England shoe factories when shoemaking moved offshore to cheaper labor markets. That year, I joined my father and we started a new shoe business, sourcing our shoes in several small factories in Brazil. We went there and we taught them how to make very high quality shoes. We imported materials and machinery for them and stood in their factories to supervise the new products being made. Thus was born the new Katz family shoe business — The Rockport Company — where we were able to create our own shoe brand and to set high standards for every shoe.