A.M. Kroop and Sons, Inc.

A.M. Kroop and Sons began in a very unexpected and unpretentious way. There were no grandiose plans for a corporation to develop and prosper — it just happened.

The business was born in 1907 when my grandfather, Adolph Michael Kroop, moved to America from his home in Latvia. Like his father he had a trade, a skill and a talent. That was shoemaking. In 1927 my grandfather moved from New York to Maryland, and the business has remained here ever since.

Being near the race tracks, his shoe business became more specialized, and he began to make jockey boots, jodhpurs, exercise, and English boots. Soon the need was great and his two sons and daughter were brought into the business. My grandfather's children, Israel, Morris and Mary, all inherited tremendous pride in the business and in their heritage. My grandfather died in 1966 and the business was left in the "boys" hands. And good hands they were! Each had their own special talents and, between the two, the business grew and prospered. The same quality, pride and love that characterized my grandfather's children have been carried on to me.

The sons and daughter ran the company for many years, meeting and making boots for many famous people. Today, some 50 years later, Kroop boots are being worn by a majority of the jockeys, trainers and exercise riders across the nation. In recent years I have expanded the business to include equestrian, hunting, theatre and other specially stylized boots and shoes for every day use.

Family businesses carry a lot of pressure on the children. Being the only grandchild with an interest in the business, my fascination in artistry led me to take over the business. After much contemplation and thought, I began the arduous journey of running a family-owned business in a highly competitive world that was so different from where and when it began.

I've tried to maintain the old world ways in the years I've run A.M. Kroop and Sons, Inc. I like the idea that when someone walks through our door they feel as though they've gone through a time machine. Stepping back to the way things were—slower paced—where quality counts—where special needs are met—and time given to those who wish to remember those times.

I've tried very hard to keep our product the same quality as my grandfather and father. I do not cut corners. The process is the same 125 steps today as it was decades ago. The reason for our success has nothing to do with being savvy business people, for we are not. I'm an artist and a craftsperson. The fact that we make a very good product and try to meet the needs of our customers is the reason we are successful.