The rodeo champions have been crowned. The Ferris wheel has spun its last rider. And the final pancake has been flipped. The second largest Stampede in Calgary’s history has come to a close. But the Alberta Boot Company is ensuring that Western spirit stays strong all year round in Calgary with their newly renovated space.
Leading with a vision
“Our vision for Alberta Boot is to become an iconic Canadian brand that is recognized across the world,” says Alberta Boot Company CEO, Eytan Broder.
Earlier this summer, Alberta Boot expanded their Beltline location to total 30,000 square feet. In addition to a large shopping area, the store now includes an open workspace where shoppers to watch the handcrafted boots being made and a bar serving local whiskey from Diamond Valley's Eau Claire Distillery.An immersive tour allows guests to try their hand at boot production, from selecting the leather to painting the heel.
The idea for the multipurpose space came from a desire to share the story of their boots as not just a clothing item, but as a piece of Western lifestyle.
“How do we bring Alberta Boot to life, to a consumer, to a broader audience?” Broder remembers asking himself. “We decided that what would be really engaging is this idea of creating a space and creating an environment that is a modular combination of educational and experience, scale and retail, and fun and entertainment. Then really try to blend all those things into one, well-defined space.”
The expanded storefront will allow for Alberta Boot’s production to increase by ten times over the next year, creating an estimated 48 new jobs within the company.
“We are deeply committed to building this business into an iconic success story for the Calgary economy,” notes Broder.
A piece of wild west history
Started in 1978, Alberta Boot was founded by a former Canadian Royal Air Force pilot, Clem Gerwing, who wanted to create authentic western boots. For over 40 years, their boots have been handcrafted in Calgary, continuing the tradition of the prairies, while embracing modern styles.
“Our intention is to grow this business from a boot company into a modern Western lifestyle brand that tells the story of our heritage, tells the story of our lifestyle here in Calgary and in the West,” says Broder. “It ties all that together through our product and the story that we’re telling.”
As Calgary wraps up what is now a record-breaking turn out for Stampede, Alberta Boot is also celebrating another achievement: their second year designing and launching the official 2023 Stampede Commemorative Boot. A popular Stampede momento, the Commemorative Boot has undoubtedly made its way into many suitcases, allowing visitors to bring home a piece of Western spirit.
“That ability for us to tell a story to people in other parts of the world, it creates dialog, it creates meaningful engagement between people of different races, of different languages, different places,” says Broder. “We're trying to be part of the community and we're welcoming people to be part of us.”