Rob Storey is 4th generation owner of Nokona. As part of our Makers Monday interview series, we asked him six questions about his products and what it means to be an American Maker. Discover more Makers on the Makers Monday website and on Cool Hunting’s Makers Mondays: On the Road.
What is it you make, and what should people know about your products?
We make baseball and softball gloves, and our company is the oldest company in our industry still committed to making gloves in the United States. We like to think that over 80 years of “know-how” allows us to make the best glove in the world.
When did you commit to making your products in America and why did you choose to do it here?
Nokona has been making ball gloves in America since 1934. In the early 1960s, when company founder Bob Storey was faced with the decision to move operations overseas, he said, If I have to move production and tell all of my employees to go home, I would rather get a bucket of worms and go fishing. Nokona is still committed to making our products in the U.S., using the finest American leathers, handmade by skilled American workers.
Where is your business located, and what makes your town uniquely American?
We’re located in Nocona, Texas, a town of less than 3,500 people that has been home to not only Nokona gloves, but also Nocona cowboy boots, as well as numerous other leathercrafters. Local cowboys and ranchers are still raising the steers from which Nokona steerhide gloves are made. You won’t meet a stranger in Nocona, whether you’re at the Friday night football game or watching youngsters play youth baseball.
What got you started, and what was the first thing you remember making?
Founder Bob Storey made the first Nokona glove in 1934. As a former Rice University baseball player, Bob endeavored to make the best ball gloves that money could buy. The company was already in the leather goods business, making ladies’ purses and wallets since 1926.
When you’re not busy at work, where might we find you? What do you like to do with your spare time?
At a local ballgame or listening to good music on the back porch while watching the native wildlife and beautiful scenery. Cooking on the grill with my boys.
Which other brands and Makers inspire you?
Lodge cast-iron cookware, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and Jack Daniels whiskey, to name a few.
Pictured: Jane, an operator who has worked at Nokona since 1988; Baseball Glove by Nokona x Shinola.