FORT WORTH — Fort Worth-based Justin Brands, a leading maker of Western footwear, said Thursday that it has bought the Highland Shoe Co., a private-label maker of casual and dress shoes for men and women, in Brewer, Maine.Justin said that it will retain the 35 plant workers and that Adam Sutton will stay on as president. Highland will maintain current production levels of more than 400 pairs of hand-sewn shoes a week, it said.“Planting new roots in a market distinctively rich in America’s footwear heritage aligns with our ongoing commitment to domestic manufacturing,” Randy Watson, Justin’s CEO and chairman, said in a statement. “As a Berkshire Hathaway corporation, we are always open to acquisitions and opportunities.”Highland Shoe Co. was founded in 2003. It makes shoes for Yuketen, Red Wing, Oak Street Bootmakers and Sperry Top-Sider. About half the shoes are sold overseas, according to published reports.Besides the Brewer, Maine, factory, Justin has U.S. manufacturing facilities in Cassville and Carthage, Mo., and El Paso.Justin Brands includes Justin Boot Co., Tony Lama Boot Co., Nocona Boot Co., Chippewa Boot Co. and Justin Original Workboots. It is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, as are Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway, Acme Brick and TTI.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST