New Balance: Early 20th Century Origins

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Early 20th Century Origins
New Balance was founded in 1906 in Belmont, Massachusetts, where the company began operations as The New Balance Arch Company. Initially, the company manufactured arch supports and orthopedic shoes and, in fact, for much of the 20th century it continued to focus on this narrow, niche-oriented business line, rarely expanding and never moving beyond the boundaries of its native state. Like its physical growth, The New Balance Arch Company's financial growth occurred at a crawling pace as well, inching nearly imperceptibly forward as the decades passed. About the only notable achievement during the company's first half-century of existence was the establishment of a solid reputation, a renown forged by the quality of its specialty shoes and buttressed by decades of consistent high-quality craftsmanship. Though the work of the company was held in high regard, there was only a small circle of customers who could profess to the quality of New Balance's footwear. Beyond this tight circle, the company was unknown; it was a small, Northeastern enterprise blanketed in anonymity New Ownership in the 1970s

A 1964 graduate of Middlebury College, Davis was 28 years old when he acquired New Balance in 1972. Academically, Davis's interests were in biology and chemistry, but he only pursued these disciplines tangentially as a professional. His chief interests were in marketing and sales, and he learned these skills while working as a sales representative for a high-technology medical electronics company. After two successful years in sales, Davis was promoted to sales manager, but he did not linger long in his new position. By the beginning of the 1970s Davis was ready to fulfill his next dream: owning and managing his own business. A friend of Davis's suggested that he talk to Paul Kidd, who wanted to retire and sell his company, New Balance Shoes. Davis talked with Kidd and spent some time investigating the company by canvassing New Balance's...
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