Monthly Archives: May 2009

SKIP HORWEEN PRESIDENT OF HORWEEN LEATHER COMPANY

Chicago, Ill.— Horween Leather Company President Arnold “Skip” Horween III believes that it takes trained eyes, skilled hands and a commitment to doing the right thing to be successful in the leather tanning business—qualities he shares with his predecessors, all Horweens and all committed to making the best leather in the world.

Horween Leather was founded in 1905 by Isadore Horween, great-grandfather of the current president. Four generations of Horweens have overseen the evolution of the tannery into its current status as one of the premiere tanners in this country and abroad. Skip Horween was named president of Horween Leather in 2002, but has worked and learned about every aspect of the business since he was a teenager growing up on the north side of Chicago.

Horween graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in economics and archeology and went on to get his Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University. While going to school, he remained involved in the family business and was named treasurer of the company beginning in 1985, becoming vice president of Horween Leather in 1995.

HORWEEN LEGACY

Like those before him, Skip Horween understands the importance of maintaining the company’s legacy of producing the best leather worldwide.

“Making the best means doing lots of little things right,” states Horween. “We’ve never mistaken fastest or cheapest with best, and we continue to use formulas that cut no corners using the highest quality components in all of our products.”

Horween Leather is the last supplier in North America of the cordovan leather that has made the tannery renowned both nationally and internationally, maintaining the strong sense of tradition by continuing to run this product with the formulas and procedures established by the founder when the company was started. In addition, Horween has provided all of the leather for Wilson’s Official NFL footballs since the 1950’s, having developed the trademarked Tanned in Tack® tanning process.

Each generation of Horween presidents learned the tanning business from the ground up and recognized that what Isadore Horween had built required not only a good business sense, but a commitment to quality and to hard work.

“Our actions are governed by preceding generations and each generation has set the bar very high,” Horween explains. “We’ve never learned how good is good enough and have always believed that a good reputation is hard to earn and easy to lose.”

As president, Horween’s official role is to oversee the continued growth of the company; however, Horween also plays an active role in the coordination of activities between sales, marketing and production, and provides all of his employees with the tools

and skills needed to do their best quality work. Horween recently finalized the acquisition of Dominion Tanners of Canada, which allows Horween Leather to expand into production of the Canadian company’s full line of shoe, boot and specialty leathers.

Horween lives in Barrington, Illinois with his wife Laura Kelly Horween and two children.

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HORWEEN LEATHER COMPANY OF CHICAGO: PREMIER LEATHER TANNERS FOR CLOSE TO A CENTURY

Chicago, Ill—While walking through Horween Leather’s tanning facility, one can’t help but reach out and touch the leather that fills the decades-old, four-story building on Chicago’s northwest side. In all the various stages of tanning, the leather shells draw not only the hand but also the eye to the varying levels of softness, suppleness and shine.

In 2005, Horween Leather Company will mark its 100-year anniversary, continuing the mission set forth by the company’s founder, Isadore Horween, to produce the best leather in the world. Four generations of Horweens have overseen the evolution of the tannery into its current status as a premier tanner, known in this country and abroad, by building on the skill, processes and tanning methods originally developed by the company’s founder.

A RICH CHICAGO HISTORY

Founder Isadore Horween arrived in Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair and stayed on in the city, working for tanneries in an industry that had built up around the meat packing plants along the Chicago River. Isadore had learned to tan hides in the Ukraine and after gaining several years of experience in Chicago, he opened his own tannery, Horween Leather, in 1905.

Horween Leather’s business and reputation was originally built around the high quality tanning of genuine shell cordovan for razor straps, but over the years, Horween Leather began to expand and explore new specialty leather markets. In the 1930’s, Horween Leather developed mechanical or hydraulic leather tannages for oil seals, and continued making their mark in the 1940’s by adapting a World War I vintage formula for work shoes into the official Marine Field Shoe leather in World War II. The 1950’s saw an increasing move into footwear and an introduction of Horween Leather to the National Football League.

HORWEEN SCORES WITH TANNED IN TACK® FOOTBALLS

In the 1940s, George Halas approached his friend Arnold Horween and asked for his help in developing better leather for the official NFL football. As a former All-American football player and coach at Harvard and an NFL player for the Chicago Cardinals, the second generation Horween was able to combine his football experience with his family’s knowledge of leather tanning to produce the finest quality leather for the professional football league.

Arnold Horween developed the Tanned in Tack® tanning process that is still used today, a process that improves the print retention on a football so the pebbling of the leather stays in as well as improving the surface feel, thus improving the performance characteristics of the ball. Horween Leather continues to use the same labor-intensive tanning processes created by their ancestors to produce the finest football leather for today’s NFL, college and high school football teams. Many sporting goods companies have turned away from the expense and quality of leather, confusing the unsuspecting customer with a “Composite Leather” stamp on footballs and basketballs that actually contain no leather and are strictly synthetic products.

HORWEEN CONTINUES ISADORE’S MISSION

As Horween Leather looks toward its 100-year anniversary, the company continues its commitment to making the best leather of its type in the world and to deliver quality leathers consistently and in a timely fashion.

“Horween Leather is an American process, an American tradition,” states fourth generation president Skip Horween. “In today’s market, where speed and flexibility are at a premium, we feel we offer our customers an unparalleled blend of quality, consistency, responsiveness and innovation.”

Horween Leather is the last supplier in North America of cordovan leather and the tannery continues to use the same six-month process and formulas that date back to the early 1900’s.

According to Skip Horween, “Tanneries are faced with tremendous pressure in the marketplace to produce leather faster and cheaper, but Horween refuses to sacrifice quality in any of our products. We never mistake fastest or cheapest with best.”

Horween Leather continues to expand its product base and in May of 2003 announced a partnership with Dominion Tanners of Winnipeg, the oldest tannery in Canada. This collaboration allows Horween Leather to expand into production of Dominion’s full line of shoe, boot and specialty leathers.

Always a Chicago company, Horween Leather moved locations once, in 1925, to 2015 Elston Avenue, and remains on the Northwest Side of Chicago along the Chicago River.

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HORWEEN LEATHER PUTS QUALITY & PERFORMANCE INTO THE NFL’S OFFICIAL FOOTBALLS Look for the “Tanned in Tack®” Label

Chicago, Ill.—Football is in the Horween Leather Company’s blood, which makes the National Football League (NFL) very happy. For over 50 years, Horween Leather has provided the leather for the Official NFL Footballs® produced by Wilson. No synthetic, composite leather here. Just 100% “Tanned in Tack”® leather from Horween.

In the 1940s, George Halas approached his friend Arnold Horween, and asked for his help in developing a better leather for the official NFL football. As a former All-American football player and coach at Harvard and an NFL player for the Chicago Cardinals, the second generation Horween was able to combine his football experience with his family’s knowledge of leather tanning to produce the finest quality leather for the professional football league.

Arnold Horween developed the Tanned in Tack® tanning process that is still used today by the Chicago-based tannery. This process improves the print retention on a football so the pebbling of the leather stays in, thus improving the performance characteristics of the ball.

Horween Leather continues to use the same labor-intensive tanning processes created by their ancestors to produce the finest football leather for today’s NFL, college and high school football teams. The company remains committed to making the best leather of its type in the world.

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Horween Leather Company: Only Producer of Genuine Shell Cordovan in North America

Horween Leather Company: Only Producer of Genuine Shell Cordovan in North America

Chicago, Ill.—After nearly 100 years in business, Horween Leather Company, located on Chicago’s near north side, has developed a reputation for producing some of the world’s finest leather. Using tannages as old as the company itself, Horween is acknowledged as the premier specialist in the art of tanning genuine shell cordovan. As the last producer of this premium leather in North America, Horween’s shell cordovan demonstrates the art of tanning at its finest. The beautiful finished product is the result of proven formulas, skilled workers and a great deal of patience.

“Horween Leather is an American process and an American tradition,” states fourth generation president Arnold “Skip” Horween, III. “In today’s market, where speed and flexibility are at a premium, we strive to give our customers an unparalleled blend of quality, consistency, responsiveness and innovation.”

Horween’s genuine shell cordovan is still tanned using a six-month-long process and formulas that date back to its founder, Isadore Horween, in the early 1900’s.

Horween’s Genuine Shell Cordovan

Contrary to popular belief, cordovan is much more than just a color. Shell cordovan is a very special leather that comes from a horse’s hindquarters. In this area, lies two oval

pieces of leather sufficient to make just two pairs of shoes. These hides must be slowly tanned, nourished with natural oils, shaved and then polished the old-fashioned way.

By using this artisan-like approach to the tanning and finishing process, Horween Leather achieves the rich, glossy look and feel prized by generations of shoemakers.

“Tanners today are faced with tremendous pressure to produce leather faster and cheaper,” states Horween. “We refuse to sacrifice quality in any of our products. We are not the fastest or the cheapest so we must be the best.”

“Producing genuine shell cordovan has always been about trained eyes, skilled hands and an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing,” continues the tanner’s president. “Carrying on the tradition is the goal for all 135 of us who work here making products that carry the Horween name.”

Horween Leather is located at 2015 Elston Avenue in Chicago. For more information visit the Horween website at http://www.horween.com.

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