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Van Gorkom boots in vogue

VIEWS: 36 PAGES: 1

									  Van Gorkom boots in vogue
By Ryan Jensen
Telkwa/Interior News

    The word is out.
    In the September issue
of Men’s Health Best Life
magazine, Charlie Van
Gorkom’s hiking boots were
featured under the heading
best Gear. Three pairs were
featured and were rated:
fine, finer and finest. Van
Gorkom’s Custom Hiking
boots were named the fin-
est.
    This free promotion is
the first time Van Gorkom’s
boots have been featured
in a large, American-based
magazine but it definitely
won’t be the last. Two pairs
                                                                                                      Ryan Jensen/The Interior News
of his boots are currently in
New York where they are         Charlie Van Gorkom’s custom hiking boots are earning international acclaim.
being photographed for a
feature in Vogue.               taught, learning his craft       got another order for 18             pair of hiking boots will be
    Although making boots       at the beginning by read-        months,” he said.                    increasing to $1,500 from
and shoes for the last 30       ing books and by personal            During the year-and-a-           $900.
years, it wasn’t until Char-    experiences. Soon after, he      half when he wasn’t mak-                “I can’t work any harder
lie Van Gorkom launched         travelled to the Utah des-       ing boots, Van Gorkom                so I had to raise my prices,”
a Web site for his Van          ert to take a bootmaking         made moccasin slippers and           he said.
Gorkom Custom Hiking            course from Randy mer-           worked on his art — creat-              “I’ve gone from sending
boots about four years ago,     rell of merrell Performance      ing pen and ink drawings             out maybe five measuring
that his business truly be-     Footwear.                        and oil paintings.                   kits a week to sending out
gan to take off.                    In addition to mak-              Currently, Van Gorkom’s          five a day.
    “Anyone who wants to        ing boots and shoes, Van         hiking boots are so popu-               “The value is evident,
talk to me about what the       Gorkom was also the inven-       lar, there is a waiting list a       especially for people who
internet can do for your        tor of Polar Cleats — snow-      year long. because of the            have never been comfort-
business is welcome to,”        studded add-ons that can be      demand, the price for a              able in off-the-shelf boots.”
Van Gorkom said. “Fifteen       fit on footwear for winter
minutes from when the Web       walking. About three years
                                ago, Van Gorkom sold this

                                                                                                      “The Vib
site was launched, I had two
orders from Hong Kong. It       business to another Valley
wasn’t until I went on the      entrepreneur because the
internet with just hiking       workload was too much.
boots that I started to get         Van Gorkom Custom
ahead.”
    but the road to becom-
ing a bootmaker was any-
                                Hiking boots are available
                                in two designs, 15 centi-
                                metres and 18 centimetres
                                                                                                      Mobile V
thing but straightforward       in height. A week is spent
for Van Gorkom. He first
came to Canada at the end
of the 1960s from the Unit-
                                on each pair of all-leather
                                boots and each pair is fitted
                                specifically to each clients’
                                                                        JAKE JENNE
                                                                   As the VIBE program draws to
                                                                                                      Centre
ed States and began teach-      needs.
ing in Terrace. From there,         Throughout the years,          a close, so does this editorial.
                                                                   In my final week of writing, I
                                                                                                      is proudly supp
he spent time working with      Van Gorkom has had shops           would like to take this chance
the television station before   all over Smithers before set-      to thank all of our major and
moving to the bulkley Val-      tling in his current location      minor sponsors.
ley as a salesman for the       just east of Telkwa on the         This program would not
radio station. In 1976, Van     bulkley River. business has        have happened without your
                                                                   overwhelming assistance. I’m
Gorkom purchased a shoe         been steady but after the ter-     pleased to see that we have
repair business and dived       rorist attacks of September        the ability to come together
head first into the occupa-     11, sales took a nosedive.         as a community and support
tion, opening a shop on             “I had about six weeks         tourism projects such as the
                                of work when the tow-              VIBE. I believe Smithers has
main Street in Smithers.                                           the ability to become a true                 Home Décor, Fur
    Van Gorkom was self-        ers went down and I never

								
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