Watson Gloves is celebrating 100 years in business

Watson Gloves have become a staple among workers in the mining industry.

An old photo of men working at Watson Gloves, which is celebrating 100 years as a Canadian company.

Watson Gloves celebrates 100 years as a Canadian-made company. — Photo courtesy Watson Gloves

Watson Gloves is celebrating 100 years in business with third-generation CEO Martin Moore. The company manufactures and distributes 2,300 styles of gloves, ranging from household cleaning and gardening gloves to heavy-duty protection at mining operations.

The family company has always held a significant place in Moore’s life. “It was always in my blood,” he said. “When we were kids, we would tag gloves in front of the TV for retail.” He had always talked to his family about joining the business, so when he graduated from university, Moore took the opportunity to help the family business grow.

“I started right from the ground,” he said. He worked in shipping, warehousing, delivering, sales and eventually purchasing. “Twenty years ago, my dad handed the presidency over to me.” Now, his family has run Watson Gloves for over 80 years. “I thought it was a great opportunity to continue on the family lineage of carrying on the business and hopefully grow the business.”

Watson Gloves in mining

The line of gloves that is most prominent among mining and energy workers is the Canadian-made Storm Trooper. “The Storm Trooper line makes up about 60 per cent of our total production,” said Moore. These gloves are used in the mining, oil and gas industries throughout Canada.

This Storm Trooper glove is the most popular Watson Glove used at mine sites.

The Storm Trooper is the most popular Watson Glove used at mine sites. — Photo courtesy Watson Gloves

Storm Trooper designs vary: winter or all season, five-finger gloves or mitten-style. All are a water-resistant cowhide palm and a deerskin back. It has a thermoplastic resin knuckle and back-of-the hand protection. The Storm Trooper protects workers in all areas of a job site. “It’s a general all-around safety glove offering great hand protection, warmth and cut resistance,” Moore said.

“Imperial Oil is a major purchaser of the Storm Trooper in Northern Alberta,” said Moore. "They started buying these gloves about five years ago because of its durability and added safety features. Others have since followed their lead. They are the biggest consumer of it, but there are hundreds of other secondary refineries and drilling operations that buy it.”

The evolution of foundational values

Watson Gloves was founded on the values of providing quality materials and great customer service. Moore has continued on this positive reputation but has added to the company’s values along the way. “I always felt that at Watson Gloves you have to be employee-centric,” he said. “The most rewarding is the longevity of our staff.” Watson Gloves employees average over 15 years with the company.

A headshot of Watson Gloves CEO Martin Moore.

Watson Gloves CEO Martin Moore — Photo courtesy Watson Gloves

Aside from selecting intelligent individuals who mesh well within the company, Moore promotes engagement and enthusiasm among his team. “I give all my staff complete autonomy,” he said. “I’ve always felt that if you surround yourself with good people that provide a unique and innovative product, you are going to win. The customers feel it with us.”

He defines the company’s success through the happiness of his team and the overall growth. “The success is our growth, customer satisfaction and our employee longevity,” he said. “I surround myself with energetic and enthusiastic people. Every team and manager are all pulling in the same direction. That’s the key.”

The next 100 years

With a solid team working together, company growth becomes the common goal. Ultimately, growth is how Moore defines success, and he has ambitious plans for the future of Watson Gloves that will continue to provide value to its customers across all industries. “I don’t see why we can’t do another 100 with the team we’ve made, our supplier base and our customer base,” Moore said.

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