Nearly a year ago, the former P.W. Minor factory on Treadeasy Avenue in Batavia quietly started producing high-end men's shoes again with a small work crew.
The new company, Artisan Boot & Shoe, is owned by Nicole Porter, the granddaughter of local businessman Pete Zeliff, who helped rescue P.W. Minor in 2014 from closure and operated the company for more than three years before selling the company and the factory to a group of investors.
That company couldn't make a go of it and Zeliff foreclosed on the property, the equipment, and inventory and after 150 years of business in Batavia, P.W. Minor ceased to exist.
Later that month, in October of 2018, Porter approached her father with a business plan to start a new shoe business. She acquired from him the equipment for Goodyear welted boots (which describes how the sole is welted and sewn to the top of the shoe) and hired 10 former P.W. Minor employees and took over the contracts with about a half-dozen shoe companies to continue making top-quality men's boots for them.
Porter said the company is growing, doing well financially, and she hopes the day will come when they can expand production, start making women's boots again, and perhaps launch their own boot or shoe brand.
The company leases space from Custom Vehicle Outfitters, which recently acquired the property from Zeliff in order to expand operations from its current location on Ganson Avenue. The company is currently remodeling the front of the building while Artisan Boot & Shoe operates in the factory space at the rear of the building.