April 3, 2012
Provincial leader tours company’s state-of-the-art factory in Toronto

(TORONTO) – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today paid tribute to the success of Roots, citing it as an example of an Ontario business that has built an iconic brand known internationally. He added that he appreciates that Roots continues to manufacture many of its products in Toronto.

Accompanied by Roots Co-Founder Don Green, Mr. McGuinty had an extensive tour of the leather goods factory. Henry Kowalewski, who – along with his brothers and late father – has been involved in Roots manufacturing since the company began in 1973, briefed the Premier on technical aspects that make the factory so efficient and innovative.

Mr. McGuinty began his visit at the factory showroom where Don Green showed him a variety of leather bags, jackets, shoes, boots and accessories produced at the state-of-the-art facility, the only one of its kind in Ontario. The Premier then received a behind-the-scenes look at how Roots makes its acclaimed merchandise that is sold in the company’s retail stores in North America and Asia, and online to customers around the world. While learning about different techniques involved in the manufactuing of footwear, the Premier had a hand in making a pair of shoes.

A large media contigent was on hand to cover the visit. The Premier later held a press conference on the factory floor where he fielded questions from journalists. The main focus was on the 2012 provincial budget that the government presented last week. In response to one reporter’s question, Mr. McGuinty accused the Progressive Conservatives of using the budget issue to try to force an election no one wants, as the province just went to the polls six months ago. He said he was disappointed the Opposition had vowed to vote against his budget without really looking at what it contains and offering no suggestions on improving it.

During his visit, Mr. McGuinty demonstrated a genuine interest in the Roots operation and made a point of speaking individually with many of the 200 workers, all of whom received him warmly.

Minutes before the Premier arrived at the factory, Roots Co-Founder Michael Budman, who is currrently overseas, spoke by phone with Mr. McGuinty to thank him for his visit. He told the Premier that Roots has always taken great pride in being based in Ontario and assured him of the company’s on-going commiment to the province.

“It was a great honour for us to receive Premier McGuinty at Roots this morning,” says Don Green. “I was impressed by the degree of interest he showed in learning more about what we do and his down-to-earth and personable manner in speaking with employees. I know it was a highlight for our staff.”

For more information, please contact:

Robert Sarner
Director of Communication and Public Affairs
Tel: 416-781-35.74, ext. 4280