By Sigrid Tornquist
Taking a cap that is more than 100 years old and making it relevant for today’s consumer was Stormy Kromer’s goal when it introduced its Hardware Caps last year. The original cap was developed out of necessity, and the story of how it came to be is at the foundation of the branding Bob Jacquart and his daughter Gina Thorsen have built for the company. Here’s the story: George “Stormy” Kromer worked on the railroad around the turn of the last century, played semi-pro baseball throughout the Midwest and later in life managed many teams. After losing one too many caps while riding the trains, he asked his wife Ida to sew some earbands onto one of his wool baseball caps, which she did. The Stormy Kromer cap was born and the rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to today. Stormy Kromer still sells the iconic original caps, which use a black shoelace to tie the earband together. They are essentially the same as the one Stormy and Ida designed, and have a loyal and continually growing following. But Jacquart and Thorsen realized that a wider client base could be reached by adding an updated version to the product line. The resulting Hardware Caps use a metal piece grommeted onto the earband instead of the shoelace. The women’s cap (pictured on the right) was the top-selling new product for the company last year, with the men’s cap close behind.