Chaco Footwear, the iconic outdoor lifestyle brand, has moved into a larger and upgraded U.S. manufacturing facility in Rockford, Michigan, to meet growing demands for increased footwear production, customization program, and reweb and resole requests from consumers.
The new factory is 25% larger than the previous facility and increases Chaco’s domestic manufacturing and repair capacity by approximately 30%.
“The increased factory size is going to be huge for Chaco. We have easily outgrown our current facility and the extra space is going to allow us to fulfill more orders easily and efficiently,” said 20-year Chaco veteran Lisa Kondrat, Director of Planning and Operations. “Plus, we have created an inviting and positive work atmosphere for our staff to enjoy every day.”
In 2020, the Chaco factory filled over 80,000 orders. More than 30,000 of those orders were repairs through the brand’s ReChaco program. A long-time initiative of the brand, this program gives new life to well-worn sandals, keeping waste from landfills and making less of an environmental impact overall. Chaco has been rewebbing and resoling shoes for over 30 years. However, since formally launching the ReChaco program in 2014, it has saved more than 266,000 pairs of sandals and 266 tons of material from landfills and counting.
“By offering customers the option to repair instead of rebuy, we keep Chacos out of the landfill, use less water from the rivers we explore, and make less of an impact on the planet,” said Jamie Kirby, Marketing Director at Chaco. “Restrapping, resoling, and reviving over 30,000 pairs of well-worn sandals a year, our Rockford, Michigan shop gives a second life to our customers’ best adventure buddies. Our ReChaco factory is a key part of our social responsibility initiative at Chaco.”
The U.S. factory is home to Chaco’s ReChaco Repair operations and MyChacos sandal customization department, and it is also used to facilitate special projects for the brand. For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., the factory pivoted for a time to produce over 6,000 face masks and other critical protective equipment to donate to health care workers and first responders.
The MyChacos customization program allows customers to design made-to-order sandals that are unique to them. There are countless combinations and options to match any style, and each pair being made on-demand helps avoid overproduction and reduce waste.
“Our founder said it best — ‘we make garbage.’ You cannot own a lifestyle company without ultimately creating something that will be disposed of,” said Todd Gordon, General Manager of Chaco. “So, the goal with Chaco has also been to keep that product useable for as long as possible by creating the most durable sandal ever. And when it’s worn in, repair it and keep it going. After all, one of the best strategies in sustainability is to make long-lasting products in the first place.”
A grand opening for the new facility will be held in August 2021. Learn more about the ReChaco program and factory at www.rechaco.com.