MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While studying entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, footwear was not necessarily the future Ben Ransom had in mind.
After testing out his first pair of shoes, and doing three years of research, Ransom decided four years ago to step full-time into the boot business. That’s makes the Rochester native a Minnesotan to meet.
In 2012, he walked away from an energy company and started Lanona Shoe Company.
“My great grandfather had a lodge called the Lanona Lodge and I wanted to pull from some of my family heritage,” Ransom said.
The Rochester native, who now lives and works in St. Paul, takes every shoe on a test run.
“I try to wear every style that we’re offering for a fair amount of time,” he said.
Not just that, he’s learned every step of the shoe making process — from sole to stitch to size and ship. He even has a patent on one product.
“This tread pattern is something that we have a design patent on. It’s pretty much a simple pattern that’s more urban so to speak, good grip and we still offer it as an outsole for some of the custom shoes and boots people can order,” Ransom said.
The leather used for a lot his shoes is sourced from Chicago and it’s the same leather used in lot big sporting events.
“They make the leather for the NFL footballs and the NBA basketballs and everything like that,” Ransom said.
Ben says his biggest thrill of all is seeing someone in his product.
“That’s probably the best, most rewarding thing, is to see people wearing the shoes and running in the street; that they’re enjoying what they bought and still using it,” Ransom said.