Since 1933, Broner® Inc. has provided hats, caps, and gloves tailored to the needs of its retail customers in the USA and worldwide.
Beginning in the glove and worker supply field and later expanding to add hats, caps, scarves and fashion accessories, Broner Inc. has grown from a three-person operation focused on Detroit’s autoworkers to a worldwide corporation providing superior fashion accessories to retailers in all 50 U.S. states and other countries. 90 years later, the business remains a family owned and operated business by the Broner family.
In the 1920s, Harry Broner, the company’s founder, began selling protective hats, gloves and aprons to Ford auto workers since Ford’s first assembly line was built directly across from the Broner family home. After the Great Depression in 1933, there was the rise of auto unions which required the plants to provide many of these items directly to their workers. Thus Harry Broner changed the business focus directly to the industrial manufacturing market and the local retail market.
Harry enlisted help from his son Barney as the company’s first employee working out of the family home on Manchester Street in Highland Park. It was the official beginning of a business that would grow and evolve for decades to come.
By 1941, Harry and Barney moved to their first official business space with the purchase of a building on Linwood Avenue in Detroit where the company remained for more than 20 years. In 1965, fueled by the company’s success, the help of Barney’s son David, and a family passion for hats, Broner Inc. expanded their product line offering caps, gloves, scarves and fashion accessories to the retail market.
The growing success of the company’s two lines – Broner Glove & Safety and Broner Hat & Glove –prompted Broner to move its’ headquarters from the city to a larger space in Ferndale. Here, the Broner management team, in order to keep up with demand, created two separate divisions of sellers and product managers. Another milestone at this time was the creation of the first Broner catalogs. Copies were mailed to key retailers across the nation and the response was incredible. This new reach was an eye-opener to the world of opportunities that existed beyond its office doors. Broner representatives soon began attending trade shows, gaining greater presence in the industry while reaching consumers from all over the world.
Staff and production continued to grow and in need for yet a larger space for operations, Broner moved from Ferndale to Troy in 1979. The progression of imported goods helped Broner gain a sizeable advantage over its competition as they worked directly with the factories to create quality products. This drastically reduced production costs and allowed the company to offer lower prices to retailers.
Demand continued to grow and in 1992 Broner built the facility in Auburn Hills where the company remains today. Since the company’s inventory and warehouse picking system is bar coded for maximum speed and efficiency, the new facility was designed around technology. In all, the facility totals 42,000 square feet – 30,000 of which is warehouse space while 12,000 square feet is utilized for office and showroom space.
Since 1999, Broner has achieved ISO 9001 registration, an international quality standard used to assess a company’s ability to meet customer needs and regulatory requirements. It is an accomplishment few hat and glove distributors have achieved and it is a testament to the superiority of Broner’s products and customer satisfaction.
90 years from its start in a little house on Manchester Street, Broner Inc. now operates two divisions and sells products worldwide. Currently, two leaders of the team, President Bob Broner and Vice President Stephanie Miller are fourth generation Broner family employees.
Broner Inc. remains true to its dedication to hats and gloves, and its start as a Detroit area family company.