Allegiance Footwear plans to open soon

The closing of World Class Footwear Repair Service, Inc. brings the opening of Allegiance Footwear, Inc., which tentatively plans to begin operation around March 1. The business, which is owned by Michael Hensley and Hugh Wallace, will be located in the Johnson County Cold Springs Industrial Building at 368 Cold Springs Road (across from Danny Herman Trucking).

According to Hensley and Wallace, they have been planning this expansion for the past six months with the help of County Mayor Dick Grayson, the County Commissioners, John Hartley and Tom Anderson of the ETSU Economic Development Center.

Filling positions for full and part time stitchers with fitting room experience is the first phase of the hiring process, in which they plan to hire 13- 20 employees.

They also need experienced sewing machine operators to run single needle, double needle, binding, TCF folding, seam-stay and webbing machines, stitch marking and stamping machines. When all hiring phases are complete, Allegiance Footwear will have 60-70 employees.

Allegiance Footwear, Inc. will be a fully functioning footwear manufacturing company with cutting through packing capabilities. They have been sub-contracted by Wellco Enterprises, Inc. of Waynesville, NC to produce military contracted footwear. These initial military contracts consist of an extreme cold weather Muk-Luk for the Air Force, and a hot weather book for the Marine Corps. Allegiance Footwear, Inc. has also been contracted, under the Converse Brand, to produce Postal Certified footwear for the St. Louis based Warson Group, Inc.

While military and postal contracts will be at the core of the business, they will continue to produce uppers for the Pennsylvania based Flexible Footwear Company. Owned by Jerry Gumbert of Sigel, Penn., Flexible Footwear has been a customer for five years.

Hensley and Wallace also credit Warden Howard Carlton, Officer Shannon Shepherd and the NECC Short Line #2 work crew that worked diligently to help prepare the building. They say others that helped get the venture off the ground are Doug Hammons, Chris Castleberry and his staff at Wellco Enterprises, Inc., and Don Franklin, Fred Madorin and the Warson Group.

“We thank our families and employees David Wilson, Margaret Spivey and the numerous other part-time employees that helped make World Class Footwear Repair Service, Inc. a tremendous success,” they said. “It is because of the dedication and loyalty of employees like them that Allegiance Footwear, Inc. will undoubtedly succeed.”

Allegiance Footwear is accepting applications for employment through the Tennessee Department of Employment Security: Career Center located at 358 Hospital Road, Mountain City (727-9181). The TDES will provide position details and information during the application and screening process.