Local Military Shoe Manufacturer Supports Policy Change
Capps Shoes says they're all about supporting America, from the people they hire, to the products they make. They are one of a small group of manufacturers that provides shoes for the United States Military. Now, they're hoping a change in military policy could mean further expansion.
"It's a good feeling to be able to provide jobs to people, but it's also a good feeling to provide footwear to the soldiers," said owner Tom Capps.
Nearly 200 employees help make over 2,000 pairs of shoes a day. Most of them are dress shoes purchased by the United States military, thanks to its "Buy American" rule.
"The Berry Amendment requires that all military procurement items are made exclusively in The United States, exclusively of American components," said Capps.
All footwear falls under the amendment, except athletic shoes. So owner Tom Capps says he and the small handful of other American shoe manufacturers are hoping to convince the Department of Defense they have what it takes to fill the need.
"There's a move now by the senator in Maine and a few others to have the athletic shoes made in the United States and they should be," said Capps.
The change could mean a big boom to Capps and the local economy.
"We're very fortunate to be in an area where the people take pride in their work," said Capps
And employees say they're happy to have Capps right here at home.
"Some of them are a one single mom, they have two little kids they have to support. And there are married couples, they have a lot of responsibility. So, they need these jobs," said employee Sallie Haskins.
Since last April new recruits have been required to use their footwear allowance to purchase American athletic shoes, but Capps says that rule is not strictly enforced.
A 2012 study by the American Apparel and Footwear Association found 98% of shoes purchased in the U.S. came from abroad.