Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) celebrated its 95th anniversary this year, and as part of the festivities, the longtime, Nashville-based company hosted an employee appreciation luncheon event at its Johnston & Murphy/Genesco distribution center in Fayetteville on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Assistant Director of Support Operations Harold Ferrell led the program at the facility located at 1501 Winchester Highway in Fayetteville. There are about 120 employees at the distribution center, which was opened in 1951. Genesco employs around 21,000 people across the company’s retail footprint in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

The luncheon was just one of several events designed to showcase the Tennessee company’s anniversary milestones, history and accomplishments this year.

Also, Genesco marks its 80th anniversary on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this year. The company is the 78th longest listed company on the NYSE, and the oldest company from Tennessee, as it was listed in July 1939.

 

Historical overview

Genesco was founded as the Jarman Shoe Company in August 1924 by James Franklin Jarman and William H. Wemyss in Nashville. The company enjoyed success early on with its “Friendly Fives” $5 footwear, reaching sales of $1.3 million in its first full year of operations. In 1930 it opened its first retail store, and in 1933, with the addition of a new footwear line and plans for more on the way, the Jarman Shoe Company changed its name to the General Shoe Company. In July 1939, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange

NYSE:GCO. It is said to be the oldest publicly-listed Tennessee Company on the NYSE today, and 78th oldest member of the Exchange nationally. At Genesco’s 35th anniversary in 1959, there were 810 retail stores and leased departments, 61 operating divisions, with 18,000 employees in 17 countries, 47 major factories in 14 states manufacturing clothing and footwear, of which 30 million pairs of shoes were produced in 1959 alone.

In 1959, following decades of unparalleled growth and diversification beyond footwear, the company was renamed to Genesco Inc. Genesco accelerated its growth during the 1950s and 1960s to include ownership of major national retail stores and international operations, including controlling interest of the Hoving Corp., which owned Tiffany & Co.

The company continued to grow in the 1960s with an executive quotes that the company had grown “from one line of shoes in 1924 to everything to wear in 1959.” In the late 1970s and 1980s, the business struggled, and amid restructuring, divestitures, and thoughtful leadership, the Nashville-based company began a process to return to its roots to focus primarily on being a footwear company, and returned the company to profitability.

Today, Genesco is a leading $2.2 billion footwear-focused company, with approximately 1,500 stores across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, operating under the retail and wholesale brands including Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Little Burgundy, Schuh, Johnston & Murphy, Trask, Dockers Footwear, and internet websites www.journeys.com, www.journeyskidz.com, www.journeys.ca, www.schuh.co.uk, www.littleburgundyshoes.com, www.johnstonmurphy.com, www.johnstonmurphy.ca, www.trask.com, and www.dockersshoes.com.

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