The Geier Glove Co., one of few remaining glove factories in the country, has been making nearly 200 pairs of gloves a day at its Main Street manufacturing facility in Centralia for over 85 years.
“As a country we need to build things and sell things,” said owner Leo Fisher, proudly revealing the “Made in the U.S.A.” label stitched inside each glove the company makes.
Fisher’s business, along with the Churchill Glove Company, just a few blocks away, are two of the few glove manufacturers that remain in the United States.
“There used to be a lot,” said David Scott, a 27-year employee of Geier Glove Co. “To have two in a small town is big.”
Scott, who has worked at the factory since his early 20s, said the two men who founded the company originally worked at Churchill, until they started making gloves in their garage at night. But when their boss at Churchill found out, they were told to stop. So the pair left to start Geier Glove Co. in 1927.
Today, the company wholesales gloves and moccasins to retailers all over the world, from Australia to Europe and even Asia. Geier has also had some high-profile customers, including making gloves for the Olympics in 2002.
“The majority of our accounts are from the ‘60s and still goin’,” said Fisher, who bought the company two years ago. “We strive to build the most quality gloves we can.”
The glove-making process starts in a storeroom filled with the zesty scent of leather, and materials from deer, cattle, moose, goat, bison, and even kangaroo. The leather is prepped and cut in a cookie-cutter like fashion into one of the hundreds of styles the company produces.
The gloves are then sewn, turned right side out, and ironed into the shape of a hand at 200 to 400 degrees, depending on the type of leather. Finally, the gloves are matched with mates and shipped out to order or stored on site.
The only gloves a customer can buy at the Centralia site are the factory seconds, or products with a slight flaw. The seconds sell for $12 to $30, which could be a steal considering some of the gloves retail for $70 to $200.
“We stand behind our product,” Fisher said.