Today’s Poll

Daily Dose — DeVito Boot Co. Creating a Buzz with New Boot

Ari Lord
By Ari Lord
March 14th, 2024

Vince DeVito Shoes, a multi-generational shoe repair and retail store in Nelson is branching into boot manufacturing under the soon to be subsidiary DeVito Boot Co.

According to Mat DeVito, this is the family’s first time delving into footwear manufacturing.

The journey started when, shortly after some down years during COVID-19, one of the company’s main boot manufacturers in Victoria, stopped producing forestry boots with soft (not steel) toes.

“There was a big gap in the forestry sector for footwear,” says DeVito. “That’s where the idea came from, to pick up that void and start doing our own line of boots.”

The moment of inspiration to moving into action was quick.

“It happened pretty fast, within a couple of weeks,” says DeVito.

DeVitos had already been dealing with boot factories in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

“It was a matter of working with [a factory] that could build something to our specifications and demands. The manufacturer we’re dealing with in Victoria led me to a gentleman in Leon, Mexico, who runs a smaller boot factory. He was willing to work with us and build the boots to a certain stage.”

The boots are finished in Nelson, with the first pair coming off the production line days before Christmas.

“The boots, when they leave Leon, Mexico, are built to about 60% completed, and then we carry on the other 40% here. They’re not labelled ‘made in Canada,’ because not enough of the process is done in Canada. (The boots are) globally sourced parts assembled in Canada. We’re cobblers first.”

Light manufacturing is the direction the company wants to keep going in.

“We’re at the very early stages. Less than 50 pairs are coming up from Mexico to start. Going forward, we’ll see where our partnership takes us with the factory in Mexico,” DeVito explains.

The company has been around for decades, starting when Vince DeVito’s grandfather emigrated from Italy in 1916.

He arrived as shoemaker and applied his trade in Trail, before opening the original DeVito Shoe Repair store in 1926.

Vince’s father, Buddy, carried on the business in the original family location in Trail until 1986.

Vince DeVito then opened the Nelson location of DeVito Shoe Repair in 1980 making Vince the third generation of DeVitos in the shoe business, with the original store stood at 347 Baker Street, relocating to 411 Hall Street in September 1995 — its present location.

The trust and relationships built by generations of DeVito’s is helping to make this dream a reality.

“The DeVito name is four generations now. We’ve almost been in business for 100 years. People trust that we know what we’re doing, what we’re talking about, the fitting advice, and the craftsmanship that goes along with shoe repair and transforming that into a manufacturing sector of our business,” says DeVito.

Vince DeVito opened the Nelson location of DeVito Shoe Repair in 1980 making Vince the third generation of DeVitos in the shoe business.

DeVito and the whole team find personal satisfaction in this transition.

“My role here is bringing new things to the table for sure, without getting far away from our roots of repair and retail. It’s very exciting for the people working for us and with us. To have our last name on a shelf somewhere on a pair of boots is pretty special.”

The boot’s leather is made by an American tannery that is also a generational business.

Ethical manufacturing is important to DeVito.

“I don’t want anyone to think that the factory we work with is unethical. [The workers] are well paid, they’re very skilled. Hopefully one day we’ll go down to visit. Leon, Mexico is the shoe capital of the world.”

The public is invited to come into the store to check out the boot in the Spring.

“We would like to have people come and see what we’re doing and what it’s all about. It gives people an inside look at what we do,” says DeVito.

Right now, the company is looking to expand wholesaling of the boot throughout Southern and Northern BC, including the Okanagan.

So far, the boots are being assembled right in their current space in downtown Nelson. The company will need to do some reorganizing if they want to have space for this growing side of the business, says Devito. Although two storage lockers a couple of kilometres away are helping.

“I invite people to come in and check it out, ask questions. We’ll have boots on the shelf ready to try shortly after Easter,” says DeVito. “I would like to have kind of an open house eventually, once we’re rolling.”

Check out a picture and specifications of the boot here.

The public is invited to come in and check out the boot in the Spring.

Categories: BusinessDaily Dose

Other News Stories