A Century Old American Dream Come True
The founders of Terox have been importing high quality footwear from overseas for the past five years. Two years ago, almost spontaneously, they asked themselves: Why not just build footwear in America? Something for the current times offering comfort, style, and quality at an affordable price?
With affordable lifestyle footwear in mind the Terox brand was born. Its product line features flip flops and slides with an anatomical design made from a lightweight, elastic, resilient polymer compound that retail at $39.95 a pair. Interestingly, though, the true heritage and inspiration of the company dates back over a century to Francisco Azzarito, who was born in the small southern Italian town of Foggia.
Francisco Azzarito was born the son of a cobbler and he had followed his father’s trade. He yearned though to build more fashionable shoes and came to America to pursue his dream to make shoes in the USA. Francisco landed on Ellis Island in the Spring of 1920 when he was sixteen years old. He had come to America for the opportunity to fulfill his dream and with no knowledge of the language or culture Francisco settled in Brooklyn, New York. He later changed his name to Frank because he wanted to be a “real” American. Frank pursued several jobs until he finally began making shoes at the I. Miller Shoe Company and eventually became the foreman of the factory. He later served as the superintendent of the Fern Shoe Company in Los Angeles, California until retirement.
His son Rocco, the eldest of Frank’s six children was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1925, also found his way in the footwear industry. At sixteen Rocco worked for the Barbour Leather Company and later in California for C. H. Baker; he then went on to open numerous successful retail footwear stores. Rocco’s youngest of four children, Rocco Jr., also followed his family passion for footwear and grew up working with his father in the family business. Two years ago Rocco Jr. co-founded Terox International, designed and invented its products, and serves as CEO of the company. Rocco’s son, Aaron, is Terox’s Marketing Director and Aaron’s twin sister, Aubri, is one of their designers.
“My Grandfather, Frank Azzarito, is truly the spirit that has moved us to rekindle the dream that America is a place where you can build footwear. Our mission is to build great footwear and to be part of restoring the American footwear infrastructure,” declared Rocco Azzarito, CEO of Terox International. “The easiest thing to do would have been to produce Terox sandals in Asia, but we made a decision not to go the easy route and committed the necessary investment to bring our production to America.”
Rocco’s partner Terry Stillman, also co-founder and CEO of Terox International explains: “Like Frank I was also living and working in Europe, as an American expatriate, and came back to America for the opportunity to fulfill this dream. Terox International is headquartered here in Boise, Idaho and the sandals are made in a family-owned plant in Buford, Georgia, the very last of its kind in the United States that can make this type of footwear. Consequently we have been able to reduced our carbon footprint, sharpen our just-in-time delivery, speed up our reaction time to the marketplace and become a part of supporting American industry and restoring American jobs.”
In an industry now dominated by Chinese and foreign-made products Terox has had to deal with ample doubt and resistance by many others. However this resistance and these barriers where overcome and appropriately on July 4, 2012 Terox was launched in the United States through over 120 stores across the country. All of the company’s marketing proudly revolves around its slogan “What Made In America Feels Like”. Due to its amazing comfort and “Made in the U.S.A.” unique selling points the brand has immediately gained incredible momentum. Worldwide several international distributors are already selling Terox in their countries and regions.
Terox has an ambitious business model that has not been pursued in this industry for many decades. The company plans to introduce several styles of exciting footwear in the years to come, all made domestically, and eagerly looks forward to the day when Terox shows up in Foggia, Italy where Frank was born.