Citrus Heights-based footwear company plans big expansion in Europe

Founder Tom Romeo, middle right, meets with a team of company executives at Bearpaw headquarters in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

By Hazel Ford–
A local company in Citrus Heights is planning a major expansion in Europe this year. Bearpaw, a footwear and apparel company with its global headquarters based at Sylvan Corners, currently supplies 45 countries but aims for an even greater presence.

Bearpaw President John Pierce said in a news release last month that after the company’s performance in North America, “now is the right time to further expand our efforts to creating a sturdy base in Europe.” Bearpaw has had some existing partnerships throughout Central and Eastern Europe for several years, but is currently lining up prospective partners for their Western European expansion this fall.

The company will primarily focus on exports of footwear to Western European retail and sporting stores, with hopes to later expand to outerwear exports, according to Kevin McDonald, Bearpaw’s vice president of international sales. McDonald said the company plans to have a presence in at least 50 countries by the end of next year.

“Right now we are strongest in North America, Asia, and Europe,” the Bearpaw executive said in an email interview last week. He said the company also supplies markets in South America, the Middle East, and Africa, but “not as widely.”

Locally, the twin-peaked Bearpaw headquarters building at Sylvan Corners has also undergone an expansion and significant remodel, set for completion by the end of this month. The two-story interior features a “modern mountain” feel inside, and its expanded 12,000-square-feet floor plan includes plenty of room for the two-dozen team members employed at the location.

The Bearpaw brand was founded by Tom Romeo in 2001, with the company’s shoes and apparel now found at U.S. retailers like Macy’s, Designer Shoe Warehouse, and other chains. Items are also sold directly from the company’s website and its outlet store, located in Citrus Heights at 7034 Sylvan Rd.