Family business with a long tradition
Topaz Arctic Shoes has been making high quality shoes since the 1980s. The shoe technician Knut Reigstad took his education in England and was factory manager at the Danish Ecco for several years before he founded Gerna shoe factory in Dalekvam, in the western part of Norway in the late 1970s. The Gerna shoe factory produced clogs and clog boots in the first years. Rail wagons went out of the factory weekly and there were over 20 employees in production. After a wrong investment in the 1980s, with the purchase of an expensive sole machine that never worked, the Gerner shoe factor was laid down.
Topaz from the precious topaz stone
In the mid-80s Reigstad moved to Ulefoss, Telemark and started up a new shoe factory. The new factory was named Topaz, from the precious topaz stone – a name that reflects Topaz’ outstanding quality products, which were then shoes and slippers made of seal skin. In 2000, Topaz bought the slippers factory Royal Comfort, from Seljord. All models from Royal Comfort were modernized and upgraded. It secured Topaz a wider model range and the sales gained momentum. Both Reigstad’s wife, Elna Reigstad and their children were involved in the work at the factory. When Knut Reigstad got retired in 2005, he transferred ownership to his four children.
30 employees across Europe
Helge Reigstad took over as general manager. He is graduated as orthopedics technician and has worked on the design of orthopedic shoes and in this profession for over 16 years. As part of efforts to increase the factory’s profitability, the last part of the production was moved to Estonia and Czech Republic in 2008, to fight against the international competition. But there is still activity at the location in Ulefoss. It is there that new products are designed and developed, and where the main warehouse is located. Topaz has nearly 30 employees in Estonia and Czech Republic, in addition to 4 people at the office in Ulefoss.