The Saranac Footwear Corporation was a shoe factory that was set up in Saranac Lake in 1954, shortly after the closure of the Trudeau Sanatorium. It occupied a building that was built for it by the Saranac Lake Industrial Development Realty Corporation.

It closed in 1962, and the plant was taken over by the Saranac Lake North Country Dress Manufacturing Co., which closed in 1970.

In the late 1970s, this building was a roller rink, run by Joan Frank. After that, it became Furniture Weekend. Still later the building was torn down and the property became the site of the present Kinney Drugs.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 1, 1954


You've head about it; you've read about it—now is your opportunity to see it in operation.

It's "Open House" from 3:15 until 5 p.m. tomorrow at the plant of the Saranac Footwear Corporation, the newest and largest industry in the Village, at Broadway and Van Buren street.

On hand to greet visitors will be Mayor Alton B. Anderson, officials of the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce headed by William G. Scheefer, president, and Sidney Feifer, plant manager and secretary of the corporation.

Production of shoes at the plant is well under way—the workers are turning out a pair of shoes every minute and a half. Eventually, with from 150 to 200 workers employed, the total payroll will be between $6,000 and $8,000 a week.

Mr. Feifer, in inviting one and all to tomorrow's "Open House", today expressed gratification with the progress already made at the plant.

"We were looking for a town that wanted an industry," he said. After visiting several other Northern New York communities we came to Saranac Lake and, on our first visit, this community sold itself to us because of the active Chamber of Commerce and the particular interest and spirit of the officials to whom we talked,

"We want our factory to be an asset to Saranac Lake and we know it will be, not only because of the benefit to business people from our yearly payroll but because we want to have a model plant of which we can be proud.

"Our corporation is pleased to become a member of the community and its Chamber of Commerce and it is our hope that the people of Saranac Lake will be as glad to have us as we are to be located here."

Negotiations to bring the shoe factory to Saranac Lake were started by the Chamber of Commerce last October. The contract that brought the corporation to the Village was signed Oct. 29 and ground was broken for the factory Nov. 7. The building was finished Dec. 31 and the first workers — three women and a foreman—were at work early this month.

Saranac Footwear at the moment employs 65 workers, all of them residents of Saranac Lake with the exception of four temporary instructors. The equipment in operation, all modern, includes roughing, sole press, cutting, box making, buckle and power sewing machines, paint spray booth, drying ovens, etc.

More machines will be added on the 14,000 square feet of space in the factory as additional workers are employed. More experienced power sewing machine operators are needed; also unskilled workers or the production line. (Applications should be made through John Leary in the New York State Employment office in the Thompson Building.)

The plant is now producing 720 pairs of shoes daily. When it is working at full capacity, 4,500 pairs will be turned out each day. And when they are shipped to dealers all over the United States, they leave here in cartons that, in large print, carry the name: SARANAC LAKE, NEW YORK.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 3, 1954

Factory Open House Draws Many Visitors

"I just can't believe it's here," a visitor to the Saranac Footwear Corporation factory said yesterday afternoon. She was one of over six or seven hundred visitors to the new factory during the Open House there. Her feeling of surprise no doubt was shared by many others.

Four months ago there was a scrubby vacant lot at the corner of Broadway and Van Buren st.

Yesterday visitors saw shoes being produced by 65 people operating modern machines in a spacious new aluminum building. They saw the process of manufacture from beginning to end, the stamping out of the soles by a great press, cut ting out of straps and buckles, expert stitching with power machines, paint spraying, electric bulbs, and packaging of the finished products.

While the shoes, 720 pairs a day at present, are all of the so-called casual type, they are in a variety of different patterns and colors.

The official welcoming party included Mayor Alton B. Anderson, William Scheefer, President of the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, George Stearns, Chairman of the Industrial Committee of the C of C. and Francis Casier, member of the Industrial Committee. Mr. Scheefer and Mr. Stearns were largely responsible for bringing the shoe factory to Saranac Lake.

Plant Manager Sydney Feifer was of course also a host; it was his factory and his Open House. However during the two hours of visiting time shoes were being made. He was therefore, engaged in seeing that operations were running smoothly, as well as in welcoming townspeople.

He said that he was pleased with the quality of the people at work, that they are learning quickly. Naturally as they become more skilled shoe production will increase.

Fluorescent lights over the machines and the long work benches give everyone of the ladies, and the operations are almost entirely in feminine hands, excellent lighting, and ducts draw off fumes from the glueing process.

The general impression is of a clean, airy, spacious and light work-shop.

There is plenty of room for further expansion, and eventually Mr. Feifer plans to have, 150 to 200 workers employed and to turn out 4,500 pairs of shoes a day.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 21, 1954

During the past year the Chamber of Commerce saw the conclusion of many years of work when Saranac Footwear located in Saranac Lake in a new building owned by the local citizens who purchased stock in the corporation that was formed under the direction of the Industrial Committee of the Chamber. At present the factory employs about 85 persons and is in the stage of expanding its facilities to employ more.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 19, 1961

Footwear Co. Planning To Employ Up to 200

S.L. Development Corporation Reports Solvency To Stockholders

Saranac Footwear, the only substantial manufacturing firm in Saranac Lake, is now employing 140 persons and hopes to increase the working force to 175 or 200 if enough personnel can be found.

This became known last night when Sidney Fiefer, head of the firm, reported to the annual stockholders' meeting of the Saranac Lake Industrial Development Realty Corporation at the Hotel Saranac.

The meeting also was informed that the Corporation is now solvent, and it voted to pay off the remaining $3,000 of the mortgage held by Collier Baird as soon as possible. Since the present balance is $3,050, it is assumed that final payment will be made on March 16, the regular date of mortgage payments.

The stockholders voted to put any surplus of funds in a savings account in one of the two Saranac Lake banks — the Northern New York Trust Co. or the Saranac Lake Federal-Savings — as the board of directors will decide, and to postpone to the next annual meeting of the stockholders the decision as to whether to buy back the stock now in the hands of the stockholders.

Last night's meeting was handicapped by the absence of the corporation's lawyer, Irving M. Edelberg, because of the sudden death of his father yesterday.

Mr. Fiefer's report indicated that Saranac Footwear had been in business here for seven years, that it had started slowly but that its business had been building steadily. Feifer said the present payroll runs about $5.500 per week, and that over the last few years the average annual payroll had been over $250,000. He said that an earlier and better start had been made in 1961 and he, hoped this year's payroll might reach the figure of $300,000 for the first time.

Fiefer reported that, since the of the establishment of the new dress factory in Tupper Lake, he no longer employed Tupper Lake people and that all those he had at work now were from the immediate Saranac Lake area, with a few from Lake Placid.

Jacques DeMattos, president of the Corporation, presided last night and Norman Sturgis was secretary, G. Carver Rice, corporation treasurer, was away on business but his treasurer's report was read by Mr. Sturgis. Mrs. Joseph Stephen served as recording secretary.

The report showed that at the beginning of 1960 there was a balance of $3,624 and that there had been an income, from monthly rent of $400 of $4,800 during the year, making a total of $8,429. Expenses during the year, including taxes insurance and the payment of interest and principal on the mortgage, amounted to $5,379, leaving a balance of $3,050.

On the first count of shares represented, there were not sufficient to constitute a quorum: 1,246 or a majority of the shares. A brief recess was called and a volunteer "posse" was dispatched to bring in enough stockholders or proxies to make a Quorum. A visit to the regular Wednesday night bridge game at the home of Alfred Currier plus a few late arrivals brought in enough representation to make a quorum.

Ten directors were elected. They are Ward Leahy, William Distin, Jr., Norman Sturgis, Frank Casier, G. Carver Rice, Arthur Buck, Collier Baird, William Sheefer, Jacques DeMattos and James Loeb. Within ten days the directors will meet and elect officers. In his report to the stockholders Mr. DeMattos stressed the solvency of the corporation. He emphasized that the stock, sold for $20 per share, is now worth that $20. About $50,000 worth of stock had originally been sold, although the corporation is set up to sell $75,000 worth. The cost of the building constructed for Saranac Footwear was more than $65,000, and thus a $15,000 mortgage was needed. In addition, several loans had been taken from the bank but they had all been paid back.

DeMattos pointed out that the shoe factory had begun just as the Trudeau Sanatorium had closed, and that the opening of the one had eased the closing of the other. In fact, the factory's present payroll is somewhat greater than the payroll of the Trudeau institution at the time of its closing.

Frank Casier suggested that a full financial report for the seven-year period would be welcome. He asked what happened to the $32 that had been paid in rent, beyond the $15,000 for paying off the mortgage. While precise figures were not available, it was clear that the additional $17,000 had been used for taxes and insurance, for a new heating unit costing $4,000 and for other necessary repairs to the building.

Casier and others appeared satisfied by the figures cited.

Much of the meeting was taken up with a discussion of what the corporation should do when the mortgage is paid off. As DeMattos reported there was some sentiment to try to build up a balance that could be used for further projects, especially if a new research industry were to be attracted. He pointed out that the original purpose of the corporation was not limited to the construction of the shoe factory but was broad enough to cover assistance to other industrial development.

Mr. Carter expressed the view that the corporation was morally bound to pay interest on the stock and to return the money to the investors since they had been thus promised when they were originally asked to purchase stock. DeMattos said he agreed completely but that a legal way had to be found to do it. He said Mr. Edelberg had advised that it was not legal to buy back some shares without buying back all shares.

Since it was clear that there would not be enough money available to do much in the way of stock repurchase for some time, it was finally moved to postpone this decision until the next annual meeting. A suggestion was made that the stockholders, of whom there are about 160, be polled to find out what their individual preferences were.

See also: Saranac Lake North Country Dress Manufacturing Co.