When Holmes Shoes first started in business, electricity was still relatively new and the region was better known as the Whiskey Capital of the World. The year was 1887 and Holmes’ predecessor, Schwenker & Mougin, first opened its doors at 412 19th Street in Moline, Illinois with a young man named W.C. Holmes working at the store.
As the company grew and prospered so did W.C.’s role in the business – by 1920 he was named a partner. The company branched off under the name Holmes Shoes as other Holmes family members – W.C.’s son, Art, and Art’s two children – came on board in the 1950s. While the Schwenker & Mougin store in downtown Moline flourished, Holmes Shoes began expanding. Stores were opened in King Plaza, Moline, Galesburg and two locations in Peoria.
During the mid-2000s, Holmes Shoes consolidated to meet the changing demands of the footwear market and readjusted its focus onto occupational and work shoes. While offering complete lines of men’s and women’s athletic and fashion footwear, today the company is a leading provider of safety shoes and boots, along with footwear ideal for medical and healthcare professionals.