Growing up in a small town two miles from the St. Croix River, Jeff Tietz and his friends liked to hunt, hike and fish to pass the time. And sometimes they’d park their trucks amid the corn stalks for “field parties.”
“The only entertainment we had was the outdoors,” Tietz said. “We spent a lot of time on the river.”
Years later, Tietz still draws from his small-town childhood and love for spending time outside as he curates an online shop for the “sophisticated outdoorsman.”
“I’ve always seen the need to tie good design and good quality products in with the outdoors,” Tietz said. “You can be an outdoorsman, a hunter and a fisherman, but you don’t need to give up style and quality products to do that.”
Tietz launched William Rogue & Co. after a stint working for Target in e-commerce and shipping. That background helped him plot out the logistics for his new company, but the experience also taught him what he didn’t want to do.
Containers of products arrived at Target on a regular basis from overseas. Discouraged by what he saw, Tietz decided to only sell products made in the United States.
“I grew up with a lot of hardworking people. I want to do what I can to support the people that have awesome skills and crafts.”Phil Kalas
From painted canoe paddles to leather wallets embodying infamous mobsters, Tietz has found plenty to support in the Midwest. Several of William Rogue’s more than 70 manufacturers call the Midwest home (check out a few of them below).
“They say that the Midwest is a flyover area where people don’t want to take the time to stop and look around,” Tietz said. “But we’re doing great things in Midwest.”