Fabiano Boots and Me
Bob's story of Fabiano Boots and Eddie Fabiano brought back vivid memories for me.
I started out at Sierra Designs in 1976 working in the Mail Order and Retail Warehouse. Fabiano Boots were the biggest pain. First, they were a pain to keep in stock. We carried two styles, the Ria and the Padre, in many full and half sizes. The stock was scattered across two retail stores and the mail order warehouse. Second, people kept buying the damn things leaving mail order back orders and retail special orders for someone (me!) to track. Further muddying the water were stock-out situations at Fabiano since the boots were coming from Italy in dribs and drabs and a general stock unpredictability caused by frequent returns for a size exchange in Mailorder. The mix of location, age of backorder, multiple incoming POs, and the requirement to keep customers updated on their backorders as the situation changed forced me to develop a complex tracking system using over sized note cards and many colored metal 'library tabs...the latter now a totally archaic technology. That was the first time I had created a business system and added information technology to implement it. Little did I know how things would go from there.
These boots were not cheap and I was on a non-union warehouse worker's salary. After handling the boots for months, I saved up and special ordered the Fabiano Mountain Masters which were the beefiest of their boots. These suckers were basically a boot inside a boot (see picture) and were designed for boulder hopping and scree scrambling. Unlike any boot I'd ever worn, I suffered no break-in blisters from day one onward. I felt anchored in them...like no river could wash me away and, if knocked down, I would pop back up like one of those balloon punching toys. I loved those boots and only parted with them well into the ultra-light years when I realized they weighed significantly more than my tent!
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