CASTING A VISION FOR MULTIGENERATIONAL FAMILY BUSINESS- Woolrich-The Original Outdoor Clothing Company since 1830 PDF Print E-mail
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Woolrich-The Original Outdoor Clothing Company since 1830



Woolrich is the Authentic American brand that embraces the outdoor lifestyle. Trusted by generations of loyal consumers, Woolrich continues a tradition of offering products of quality and value.


In 1996 the Sixth Generation Descendant of Co-Founder John Rich became President of the Company.


Woolrich has been synonymous with quality outdoor clothing for over 180 years. The company got its start in 1830 when John Rich, an immigrant from England, built his first woolen mill in Plum Run, Pennsylvania. Rich would visit the lumber camps that dotted the area and sell his woolen fabric, socks, coverlets and yarn from a mule cart.


By 1845, he built a new mill a couple of miles up the road next to Chatham Run, which provided a steadier source of water. That building exists today as part of the group of buildings, homes, and community establishments that have become Woolrich, Pennsylvania.


Rich could certainly not have imagined that his little woolen mill (created not long after the Revolutionary War) would go on to experience the Civil War, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the end of the Cold War. It would witness the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in America, the amazing growth of American cities, and the telecommunications revolution.


Legend has it that Woolrich was the first company to use a zipper in men’s trousers. The timeless Railroad Vest, introduced when the railroad was being built through Pennsylvania, is still a popular item. Another garment with roots back to the mid-1800s is the Buffalo Check Shirt that has kept many generations of outdoorsmen warm.


Technological developments, new production methods, and changing American lifestyles led to new products for all types of outdoor activities—all-wool bathing suits and wool golf knickers joined rugged coats for hunters and trappers. As America took to the roads in the early 1930s, Woolrich added automobile robes and steamer rugs for the more mobile society. Woolrich was contracted by the government to outfit Admiral Byrd’s expedition to Antarctica in 1939, 1940, and 1941.


Eventually, the introduction of new high-tech materials allowed Woolrich to enhance the performance of its outdoor wear, meeting the needs of a new generation of enthusiasts. Traditional fabrics like wool and cotton teamed up with man-made fibers to create clothing that our customers could rely on for everything from a backpacking trip to a leisurely stroll.


Today the little village of Woolrich is still headquarters for the company, but the business has grown to a worldwide lifestyle company with a full range of outdoor-inspired products, from jackets and shirts to outdoor furniture. The company that provided blankets to the Union soldiers in the Civil War today keeps folks warm under its wonderful throws as they cuddle up by the fireplace. You can buy a wool jacket your great-great grandfather may have worn in the woods or a parka that’s all about the latest in advanced technology.


What has not changed in all those years is Woolrich’s commitment to quality, value, and products that fit the outdoor lifestyle. And most of all, our commitment to you, our customers.


A Message From the President


It’s a popular thing to be manufacturing in the United States right now. Companies of all sizes are listening to their consumers and their hearts, and finding a way to build it here again. At Woolrich, we have been actively manufacturing in the United States since our company’s founding in 1830. We proudly operate the oldest continually running mill in America, right here in the town of Woolrich.


As proud as we are of our manufacturing legacy, it’s true that we don’t make 100% of our products in the USA as we once did. As the global economy grew and matured over the last 20 years, many core mill customers took their woolen business overseas. To remain relevant, competitive and solvent, we made the same difficult choice.


In today’s world, the hard reality is that making things here is hard to do. But like our customers who embrace adventure every day, Woolrich is preparing to tackle a new challenge...bringing manufacturing back to Pennsylvania, one step at a time. Toward this end, Woolrich is setting three significant domestic manufacturing goals: for our mill, for our customers, and for our brand.

  • 1. To increase the yardage of wool produced in our woolen mill by 50% in 2013.
  • 2. To introduce a 100% American-made apparel collection in Fall 2013.
  • 3. To increase our American-made product offerings by 2015, ensuring that more than 50% of Woolrich Woolen garments proudly include American-made wool.


In the coming months, for Woolrich to set and accomplish these goals, it’s going to take more than a company commitment. It’s going to take support from our loyal customers as well. At Woolrich, we are proud of our rich heritage and eager to begin writing the next chapter of the American manufacturing story. Moreover, we are excited to work side by side with you to accomplish these worthwhile goals.