Each year an estimated 4.5 million baseball gloves are sold in the U.S.
Wilson and Rawlings are a few big names in the business, but Nokona is the largest American-made glove company.
Nokona, based in Nacona, Texas, has been making ball gloves for more than 80 years.
“Our volume and our demand is increasing and we really need to bring in more craftsmen, ” said Rob Storey, whose family has run the business since its inception. “We could probably use another 20 people in the next 3 to 4 months.”
That’s right, Nokona is looking to expand operations.
The glove maker has weathered many a storm in recent years, having survived a devastating fire at its production facility two hours north of Dallas and an ambitious partnership with investors who are no longer connected to the company.
“We’re very fortunate that we’re able, in this type of economy, to grow the business, ” Storey added. “We’ve just hung in there. We’ve had our ups and downs, good years and bad years – but fortunately we’ve stuck around now, long enough that we’re really kind of right at zenith of the glove industry,” Storey said.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Nokona is looking to grow while focusing solely on high-end gloves that cost up to $300 each.
So how does the company do it? “Stubbornness, tenacity, just not willing to give up, ” Storey said. “The glove speaks for itself.”