Already immersed in the shoe industry, young Barry Wafford knew the quality of San Antonio Shoemakers before he started working there. The young man sold shoes at a local San Antonio store where they had SAS shoes in inventory. It wasn’t long before founders Lew Hayden and Terry Armstrong approached Barry to work for them. After rejecting their offers twice for retail jobs, Barry says the two offered a position in the factory, and Barry finally said “yes.”

It was 1979, and Barry says his first job at SAS was in the sole laying department, pushing racks. He recalls the feeling of inadequacy while watching true craftsmen and craftswomen make shoes around him. Soon, Barry learned the tricks of the trade and eventually ran Manufacturing for the company. He also worked in Retail, Wholesale, and headed up Human Resources. Now, Barry claims he’s a Senior Advisor, and loves it.

One of the joys of Barry’s work, he says, is working with the people in the factory today. “There’s just such skilled individuals you work with here every day.” Barry explains, “They really, really care about their jobs, and they really, really care about their company.” This love for factory workers is something seen throughout the company; as Barry puts it, “Listen, I could leave tomorrow…and they wouldn’t miss a beat, but if we lose a shoemaker tomorrow, we got a problem!”

It’s that spirit that keeps hard working folks like Barry around for 10, 15, even 30 plus years. Barry recalls a quality passed down from the SAS founders, “You take care of the people, and they’ll take care of the company, that’s all you got to worry about.”