Tour will highlight today’s shoe industry in L-A

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LEWISTON — Join Museum L-A on Thursday, May 5, for “Walking Tall: A Tour of Today’s Shoe Industry in L-A,” a morning of tours showcasing three facilities still engaged in manufacturing in the shoe industry. Participants will get a first-hand look at the innovation and the tradition that gives these companies their edge. There is no fee to join the tour, but preregistration is required.

A bus will leave from Museum L-A and visit Falcon Performance Footwear, Pamco Shoe Machinery and Rancourt & Company Shoecrafters, returning to Museum L-A after the final tour. The entire program will run from 9 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.

“Museum L-A wants to show that work involving highly-developed skills, creativity and innovation is not only part of Lewiston-Auburn’s past but is still happening today behind closed doors in our community,” said Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A’s executive director. “This tour is a chance for people to see that the local shoe industry is still very much alive.”

Falcon, which recently moved from the Roy Continental Mill in Lewiston to an Auburn industrial park, has been making footwear locally for 45 years. Starting with the manufacture of children’s shoes, Falcon shifted its focus to work boots in 1990. In 2007, Falcon formed a strategic alliance with Globe Firefighter Suits to manufacture a revolutionary new boot for firefighters. Falcon introduced the Mining boot in 2009 and introduced two new boot styles last fall at the National Safety Council Show in San Diego.

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A leader in the remanufacturing of shoe machinery for more than 50 years, Pamco prides itself on the highest quality remanufactured shoe machinery in North America. Tour participants will see how still-in-demand antiquated machinery is being rebuilt for the footwear industry. Pamco recently started manufacturing its own parts and have gone global.

At Rancourt & Company three generations of shoemakers are at work manufacturing hand-sewn shoes for men including father and son, Michael and Kyle Rancourt. Since 1964 the Rancourts have been making traditional moccasins the same way moccasins have been constructed for more than a hundred years. Rancourt exports shoes globally and its high-end clientele includes Ralph Lauren.

The tour is limited to 18 participants and space is filling fast. For more information or to register, call Museum L-A at 333-3881.

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