A few months ago it came to my attention that a legendary bootmaker in Laurel, Maryland was closing it's doors for good. My immediate thought was "what are they doing with the equipment?". After acquiring much needed equipment from the Wilson's Manufacturing closure in Pennsylvania, keeping tabs on makers ending their run is the best way to acquire expensive equipment. I found A. M. Kroop was holding an auction and that some of their gear would be useful and close some gaps in our capabilities.
Beyond the equipment I found a history of perseverance, hard work, and mastery of a craft at the highest level. You can read the full history of A. M. Kroop and Sons here. While I was there picking up equipment I purchased for TLW, Randy Kroop was on site to supervise the buyers removal of it. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with her for some time about her business, family, and passion for artistry in leather. Carrying a business that makes the same product as it did when it began over a hundred years ago takes something- and that something is what any small business owner with passion for their trade seeks.
Though I purchased three old sewing machines, some tools, and shop equipment from Randy Kroop- I left her shop in Laurel with far more. The feeling a maker gets in a shop like that where masters have worked for so long is indescribable and not something that everyone can feel and see. Master makers and amazing shop aside, it was clear the Ms. Kroop's passion, drive, and fearless heart is what kept the A. M. Kroop Boots alive and a driving force in custom equine boots.
I am proud that I'll be running a few of their machines in my shop for years to come and that I will do my paperwork and business at the shop desk that A.M. Kroop began using in the 1920's.