The Rockport Group, a maker of men’s and women’s footwear, has moved its global corporate headquarters to the village of West Newton in the city of Newton, MA. The new headquarters is home to approximately 215 employees.
The move comes nearly 18 months after the company became a standalone entity following its acquisition by Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners LLC and New Balance Holding, Inc., the investment arm of New Balance. The business was previously owned by the adidas Group and located in Canton, MA.
“We are excited to call Newton the home of The Rockport Group’s new global headquarters,” said The Rockport Group President & CEO Bob Infantino. “We were founded in Massachusetts in 1971 and are proud to continue our legacy in the greater Boston area. Our head office is a hub for our employees around the world across all three of our brands — Rockport, Aravon and Dunham — and our heritage and commitment to the art of shoemaking is reflected in our new space.”
The Boston area has become a hotbed for shoe makers. Reebok, New Balance and Converse all recently picked the city for their headquarters. Wolverine World Wide — which owns brands including Saucony, Keds, Sperry — moved a regional center from Lexington to Waltham. And British shoe maker Clarks and German sneaker maker Puma also have operations in the region.
Historically the nation’s footwear-making region, New England is still a viable center of the industry, according to Nate Herman, a senior vice president at the American Apparel & Footwear Association trade group. Although most shoe companies have moved manufacturing overseas or other parts of the country where labor is cheaper, New England and the Boston area still have the largest concentration of workers versed in design, sourcing, marketing and other aspects of the industry.
Inspired by The Rockport Group’s New England heritage, the company’s new 70,000-square-foot office was renovated by Boston-based architectural firm Baker Design Group to feature industrial-themed staircases, exposed brick, large, bright windows, an open-concept cafeteria, and a main lounge area featuring a double-sided fireplace. Inviting common areas encourage employee collaboration.
“We are very glad to welcome The Rockport Group to Newton,” said Mayor Setti Warren. “Our unique village centers, supportive community, and easy access to Boston create an environment where businesses can thrive. Rockport is an exciting addition to our vibrant and diverse business community and I’m excited to see how they continue to grow and succeed here.”
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