At the end of the 1960s, General Footwear specializes more and more in winter boots, specifically, “après-ski” sealskin boots. A fashion statement that probably rekindles memories for a lot of you, right?
It is during those years, more precisely in 1967, that Gilles Tétreault leaves the Joseph Papin Ltée factory to go work for General Footwear. Here he is explaining what motivated him to leave the business after 17 years of employment with the Papin family.
The move to Lafayette (captions available in both FR and EN) – watch this video with the transcript (EN)
Like all other Contrecœur factories, up until that point General Footwear is crafting generic shoes. In 1976, the creation of the Kamik trademark, an Inuktitut word meaning boot, allows the company to carve out a place in an increasingly competitive market. Throughout the 70s, the factory is the site of major transformations. In 1971, thanks to a $300,000 investment, the factory is expanded and modernized.
A second expansion takes place in 1979. Currently, the company operates under the name of Genfoot Inc. and employs 200 workers in Contrecœur. Gilles Tétreault tells us about this significant transition in the company’s history.
The Lafayette factory (captions available in both FR and EN) – watch this video with the transcript (EN)
Georges Tétreault, Gilles’ cousin, worked for the company for 52 years. Initially hired as an apprentice, he climbed the ladder over the years to eventually become General Manager of the factory in 1960. Mr. Tétreault also witnessed numerous technological innovations in addition to contributing to some personally. It is thanks to him that a three-needle sewing machine, very useful for manufacturing Kamik boots, was marketed by the Puritan company.