Meet Pingree Detroit, A Maker Of Leather Goods That Isn’t Shinola

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Today we’re taking a look at a company that’s making high-end leather goods right here in the city of Detroit, putting Detroiters and veterans to work.

We’re talking about Pingree Detroit, based just about a block away from the well-known Shinola. Pingree is a worker-owned company formed as an L3C — a special type of company that puts both the bottom line and the social mission of the company first.

And when there’s profits, 77 cents of every dollar is shared with the workers.

Air Force Veteran Nate Crawford works on a pair of Mayor sneakers

Pingree just made their 100th pair of Mayor sneakers. Why Mayor? Because the company is named after shoemaker and former Detroit mayor and Michigan governor Hazen S. Pingree.

Considered Detroit’s best mayor, he has a fascinating back story.

But back to the present day. The company is based out of an old Albert Kahn bank building, and that’s where we met Pingree Detroit founder Jarret Schlaff.

Sven Gustafson (left) and Pingree Detroit founder Jarret Schlaff (right)

Pingree founder Jarret Schlaff and our Sven Gustafson toured the facility and talked about the project, the sacrifices made to create a worker-first company, the ups and downs of business and the optimistic view Jarret has for the future.

The company was founded after meeting jobless veterans in the city.

Here’s that interesting conversation on our latest edition of the Daily Detroit podcast.

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You can find out more about Pingree and shop their shoes, bags and other stuff at their website. Below are more photos.

The Mayor shoe
Pingree Detroit also sells a variety of bags.
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