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Founded in 1914 by the present owners grandfather Thomas Groocock, Padders is still a family owned and run business with the same values and standards that the Padders' brand is famous for. Our greatest assets are our Padders' People, who have a passion and dedication to delivering the very best. Our vision, inspired by the values and standards established in 1914, is to produce high quality leather shoes that don't compromise comfort for style. We pride ourselves on our quality and customer service and are committed to delighting our customers.
Stepping back through the decades - a stroll through Padders' past.
Northamptonshire has always been at the heart of the British Footwear Industry, plentiful in the raw materials - water, wood and livestock needed in the manufacture of shoes. Most of the towns had shoe factories and it was not uncommon to have several, providing employment to whole families for generations.
The Groocock family, already experienced retailers, owning a General store in Rothwell since 1905, founded their own footwear manufacturing company in 1914. Thomas Groocock was the founder of T.Groocock & Co (Rothwell) Ltd., making traditional welted shoes. This was the Edwardian era of fashionably small feet, where occasionally ladies even had their little toes removed to achieve a slimmer fit!
In 1922 the company expanded into a larger factory, and by 1939 the company was doing its bit for the war effort, making army boots and 'utility' men's shoes.
By the late 1950s, the company was working with Densons to produce the famous beetle-crushers and winkle-pickers favoured by the youth of the time. A new factory was built in Rothwell in 1959, and within a few years the company had introduced 24-hour shifts in order to cope with the 3,000 pairs of shoes being manufactured each day.
Fast-forward to the early 70's and it was stack-heel and wedge-platform shoes that were whizzing off the production line, at a volume of 2,000 per day.
In 1982 the company successfully launched the Padders brand with stock backing and direct-to-the-retailer service, aiming to deliberately move away from high fashion towards a more mature market that was steadily expanding. At this important time in Groocock's history, Padders created their feelgoodfeet™ concept. feelgoodfeet™ was and still is, all about exceptional comfort and support which was independently recognised by the industry's premier research and testing organisation SATRA; who gave Padders feelgoodfeet™ one of the highest ever scores, in their footwear Comfort Index tests. Such was demand that by 1987 there were four plants in action, producing well over one million pairs in that year alone.
In 1990 the Rothwell Factory Shop opened its doors to a quality and cost-conscious public in search of good value, well made shoes.
Opened in October 2004 our brand new 42,000 square feet factory, with its state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, distribution facility and retail factory outlet, is set to fast-forward Padders into a new era of footwear production. Around 50 people are employed at the factory, including core management teams in sales, production and planning. This investment, bringing with it improvements in efficiency achieved with the latest technology, represents Padders' commitment to the future.
Coming right up to date, Padders are going from strength to strength in 2008, supplying 1000 nationwide independent retailers with a wide range of men's and ladies comfort footwear, raising the brand awareness with the consumer and developing important links with Healthcare professionals.
Throughout these decades of change, the firm remains very much a family affair. Family members Jo West (Customer Services Manager), Kate Rowe (Shop Manager) and Mike Rowe (Sales Director) handle the day-to-day running of the company, guided by the experienced eye of Tom Groocock. Elizabeth Pearce, Tom's sister oversees shoe development and design and Jane Garner, (John Groocock's daughter) oversees the Account department. The company is still run with the same values and standards the Padders brand is famous for and will be for many years to come.
Padders has a commitment to the community, supporting local charities such as Cransley Hospice as well as national and international charities - Breast Cancer Care, Unicef and the Hope Foundation in India.
The Groocock’s family - Jo West, John Groocock, Jane Garner (standing), Elizabeth Pearce, Steve Valentine (standing), Tom Groocock, Mike Rowe (standing) and Kate Rowe.