For over 120 years Wood & Hyde Leather has
produced products which enabled its
customers to prosper. Appropriate investment in materials, plant, equipment, and employees has
enabled Wood & Hyde to produce a quality product at competitive prices delivered in a timely
Wood & Hyde Leather began in 1890 as a family run company and continues as such today.
Throughout the history of the company there have been only four changes of
ownership. Except for an 18-year period it has always been privately owned.
Randall H. Doerter is the current owner, having bought the company from Genesco Inc. in
1987. At that time Randy had worked for Genesco for six years and Wood & Hyde
reported to him
for approximately one year prior to purchasing the company. Randy is a graduate of the University
of Tennessee with a degree in Industrial Management and a MBA from the University of South Carolina.
He worked for Talon Zipper for 13 years after college prior to joining Genesco in 1981. During his
tenure with both companies quality control was under his of supervision.
Randy's background in quality control has carried over into the management of Wood & Hyde
and its emphasis on quality. To achieve high quality leather, the company uses only the best quality
materials and upgrades its machinery and facilities on an ongoing basis. New equipment has been
purchased in order to produce higher quality leather at competitive prices. Improvements to the
buildings not only extend the life of the facilities but also demonstrate to the community and the
employees the dedication Wood & Hyde has to making the work environment the best it can be.
These improvements throughout the workplace enable the employees to achieve their maximum performance
and produce a quality product.
Much of the success of Wood & Hyde can be traced to its' strong foundation provided by the
founder Joseph Wood. In 1890 he established his tannery in Gloversville, NY, an area already known
for its tanning of glove leathers and production of gloves. In 1900 Donald Hyde joined his father-in-law
in the company and Wood & Hyde was formed.
Throughout the early part of the 1900's, the glove industry was very important to the area and to
Wood & Hyde. At this time between 80% and 90% of the women's kid glove manufacturing in the United
States was located in this leatherstocking region of New York. During both World Wars and the Depression
this area prospered due to the constant demand for leather gloves and garments.
Donald Hyde sold the company in 1953 to a trio of gentlemen: Benjamin Dennie, George Cassidy and
Richard Sweet. The new owners continued to successfully tan glove leather and began to make strong
inroads into the garment industry. They bought two additional tanneries in the area in order to keep up
with the demand for their products. Wood & Hyde was sold to Genesco Inc. of Nashville, TN in 1969.
During the Genesco ownership, Wood & Hyde experienced their most productive periods and their
most disastrous. Around 1972 the company was so busy in the domestic and international glove and garment
business that customers' leather shipments were rationed. Due to the demand for finished sheepskins
during this period, one of the tanneries was remodeled into a leather finishing facility. The business remained strong until the late 1970's when three international
events took place: Russia was at war in Afghanistan, the Ayatollah took over Iran (hence an embargo), and
Turkey chose not to export raw sheepskins. These countries all supplied the fine raw material Wood &
Hyde used to produce their quality leather. As a consequence of these events, Wood & Hyde lost their
raw material sources and their existing business went into decline.
Wood & Hyde proved to be very resilient and was able to rapidly convert its' soft leather
garment and glove background into soft quality cowhide leathers for the shoe and garment business. The
superior quality of the U.S. domestic cattle hides proved to fit best with Wood & Hyde's background
and reputation for fine quality leather. Combining the expert skill developed in the tanning of glove
and garment leathers with the superior quality of the U.S. hides, Wood & Hyde now produces soft,
world-class cowhide leather.
Today, Wood & Hyde is a strong, healthy company. In an era of manufacturing companies moving
offshore for economic reasons, Wood & Hyde has invested heavily within the United States, determined to remain an American tannery.
Wood & Hyde has also made the
necessary adjustments to manufacture leather in an environmentally friendly manner. The continuing emphasis
on producing high quality leather at competitive prices will enable Wood & Hyde Leather to remain a
viable U.S. tanner well into the 21st century.
Jump to Top of Page
Return to Home Page