Nocona Athletic Goods Company
Nokona Athletic Goods Company (originally known as Nocona Leather Goods Company and stylized as Nokona) was founded in 1926 by the Storey family in Nocona, Texas. In 1934, The Nokona baseball glove was trademarked (spelled with a "k" when the United States Patent and Trademark Office would not allow the name of an incorporated town to be registered). Today, Nocona Athletic Goods is one of a handful of companies that still manufacture baseball gloves in the United States.
Keeping with tradition, the factory has always been family oriented and America-centered. The line of succession has seen the presidency of the company pass to Rob Storey, a grandson of the first company glove maker, Robert E. (Bob) Storey. The elder Storey played baseball for Rice University before becoming President of the Nocona Leather Goods Company in the 1930s.
Trying to offset slumping sales of wallets, purses and belts during the Depression, he turned to making baseball gloves. The business turned around, and within six years, Nocona was only making sports equipment. The name was changed to Nocona Athletic Goods Company in 1956.
Bobby Storey, Robert's son managed the company from 1973 to 1991 and is still Chairman of the Board.
The Nocona Athletic Goods business plan has historically emphasized buying raw materials in the United States, while employing highly skilled leather crafters from the small town of Nocona, Texas, who assemble each glove by hand from more than 20 individual pieces of leather. The small north Texas town produces an abundant supply of talented workers because it is the location of several other factories that manufacture leather products.
Nocona Athletic Goods outfits slow pitch softball players all the way to professional baseball players with hand stitched and laced ball gloves. The company offers glove repair when a customer notices unusual wear and tear. Numerous major league professionals endorse the Nokona brand of glove. The company also produces many other types of athletic equipment, including football pads and helmets.
On July 18, 2006, the 80-year-old factory burned to the ground creating a loss of over $5,000,000. The fire was started by an overheated box fan. The 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) building burned for eight hours before the fire was extinguished.
Factory owners promised to rebuild the plant. Employees sifted through the ashes and salvaged what they could, especially the custom leather cutting dies for the Nokona gloves. The operation moved into an old boot factory in Nocona that had shut down. Ten days after the fire, Nocona Athletic Goods was back in production, and none of their employees lost any wages.
Current Boston Red Sox reliever Jean Machi, White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino, Toronto Blue Jays reliever Scott Copeland and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kevin Siegrist are a few MLB players using Nokona gloves. Nokona currently has around a dozen MLB players and around two dozen minor league endorsees.
- McLeod, Gerald E. "Daytrips." The Austin Chronicle. 22 February 2002. <http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/column?oid=oid%3A84710>.
- Tribe, Kristen. "Nocona Survives." American Profile May 17–23, 2009. pp 4–6. <http://www.americanprofile.com/article/33668.html>