About YORE Shoemaker
In 2003, Tim McKay, met Steven Fernand while they were both playing in the MI based cajun/zydeco band, K. Jones & the Benzie Playboys. While Steven was recovering from a minor accident, Tim agreed to give him a hand around his shop until he recovered. This led to a full-time position for Tim, and after a few years of apprenticeship the time seemed right for Tim to take over the company.
So in 2006, the deal was sealed and Tim became the new owner of Fernand Footwear. For the next several years he continued to operate from the small retail & production space in Benzonia, MI, that Steven had established.
During this time Tim expanded the existing wholesale operations, eventually to be retailed in select stores in Los Angeles, New York City, Belgrade (Serbia), and more than 50 stores in Japan. This lead to the purchase of two separate trademarks in Japan, as well as US trademarks under the "Fernand" name.
In 2013, Tim had an accident that severely damaged a few fingers of his right hand, which led him to re-evaluate his business and the way he wanted to continue making shoes. To this end, he decided to discontinue wholesale production in order to concentrate on what he enjoyed the best, making footwear for individuals and their feet.
Downsizing into the core business made sense for the quality of the product and service. Now, Tim could focus on what sets this company apart; what most other shoe manufacturers are neither willing or able to do; that is, deal one-on-one with each of your feet.
Tim then accepted a request from a Japanese company (which he'd worked with for several years already) when they offered to purchase the brand name "Fernand Footwear", and the related trademarks, for sale and marketing in Japan.
This left Tim free to continue making shoes by retaining all equipment and customer files, with only the need for a new name....Yore Unlimited.
You can now visit the shoeshop, by appointment, located in the Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo, MI.
Please feel free to contact Tim directly at:
You can also see Tim playing upright bass, throughout the mid-west and beyond, in the award winning Grand Rapids MI band, Fauxgrass.
Thanks for visiting!
Steven Fernand passing the shoe-hammer to Timothy McKay, circa 2006
About Steven Fernand-
In the late seventies, Steven Fernand bought a one-way ticket to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and got off the plane with only two hundred dollars in his pocket. He found a job with Zora the sandalmaker, starting out at $3 an hour, repairing various leathergoods. Soon, he was making custom sandals, and after a few years he put together enough money to return to the States and start his own business.
Fernand designed a line of shoes and sandals, and started his business in 1983 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, wholesaling Comfoot™ Shoes & Sandals into college towns, and selling them personally to customers at art & craft fairs, and at his shop in the Ozarks. In 1985, Steven moved back to Massachusetts, his native state, and worked the art & craft fair circuit on the East Coast. Then, in 1986, he moved his business and young family to the beautiful northwest lower peninsula of Michigan, where the real estate was then a bargain, bought a house, set up shop, and incorporated. Through the years, he sold wholesale to retail stores in various cities, and sold retail to individual customers through direct mail, at art & craft fairs, and at his workshop outlet.
Keep up with Steven at his blog! http://www.smfernand.com/blog
Buy his book at Amazon.com
In the early nineties, Fernand cut a deal with people from Ithaca, New York, who had been selling Fernand® Comfoot™ Shoes & Sandals at their retail store. He licensed them the trademark, and showed them how to make his shoes. The deal soon soured, so Fernand terminated the trademark license and sold his our interests in the company. The Aurora Shoe Company still makes copies of Fernand's designs. Unlicensed copies have also come out of China, Portugal, and Mexico.
The tradition carries on with Timothy McKay who purchased the business in 2005. In 2015, Tim decided it was time to change the name and location of the business, but he continues to make the same shoes, with the quality and comfort that you've come to expect over the last 30 years!