After our sign-up sheet was posted, the men expressed an interest in going, so they signed up too. In all, 21 people wanted to go.
On Tuesday, March 3, we carpooled four miles to SAS Shoe Factory and discovered a delightful surprise. The front of the building looks like a Wild West movie set.
Inside the General Store are gifts, penny candy, free fresh cookies brought to you while you shop, five-cent bags of popcorn, SAS shoes on sale, and clothing items. I see shopping in our immediate future!
We signed in at the desk, had a few minutes to use the restroom, and looked around a little. 12-person tour buses pulled up and we were loaded onto them ten at a time. They drove us to the manufacturing building. No photos are allowed inside where the shoes are made.
The first thing we learned is that only moccasin-type shoes are made at this facility. Other shoes are made at a factory in Del Rio, Texas. We watched as workers cut pattern pieces out of leather with die-cuts, folded the leather into shoe-like shapes, stitched by machine, hand-laced, pounded, and glued the shoes together by hand. Tubs full of different types and sizes of shoe molds made out of polypropylene (called "lasts") are used to shape the shoes. It's quite a fascinating process. Shoe seams are pounded with a mallet to make the seams are soft and supple (so the seams won't hurt your feet).
Once the shoes are made, they go to two quality control departments where the shoes are inspected. In other words, the shoes are inspected once, then sent to a second inspector to make sure the first one didn't miss any defects. If there is even a slight flaw in material or workmanship, the shoes are rejected to beings "seconds" and are sold in their factory stores, such as here and in Del Rio. (You can barely tell there's a defect!)
When we finished the tour, we had a half hour to shop for shoes, and other fun things, from their store. Then we carpooled to lunch. I'm not going to say much about lunch because it wasn't my favorite place.
|Lynda and Norena (on the bench) |
trying on shoes.
|A wall behind the cash register.|
|"Beam me up, Scotty!"|
|Buckets of penny candy|
|Farm scene inside the SAS store.|
|I love their company philosophy!|
|BettyAnn checking out SAS purses|
|Colorful shoe display in the SAS store|
|Love the displays in the SAS store|
|Also a car museum, of sorts|
|The group heading out with purchases.|
All in all, though, we had a very good time. We will definitely take out-of-town guests to SAS Shoe Factory.
|Bowie the box troll|