Bates Footwear, in Big Rapids, makes boots for the U.S. military. According to, a few years ago, after making shoes and boots for 67 years, it looked like Bates was going to shut down. NOW, they have so much work, they're having to hire 100 new workers.

The company, which is the only U.S. based factory owned by Wolverine, has $100 million in contracts to make boots for the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and dress shoes for all the branches of the military. Plus, they're making boots for the Afghan army.


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