Gary Rich Announces New Footwear Company

Gary Rich is back in footwear, and he’s brought along some old friends.

The former president of wholesale for Brown Shoe Co. announced that he has formed a new footwear company called the Rich Footwear Group. Two other former Brown Shoe executives, Paul and Richard Shapiro, will help Rich lead the charge at the new firm.

“It’s great to be back in the business,” Rich said. “We’re only several weeks old, but I’m really excited to go back out and compete, which I love to do.”

For its first venture, the company has inked a partnership with the Cortina-Leomil Group to market and sell “Angry Birds”-licensed footwear in the U.S. and Canada.

The line will launch for fall ’12.

“Utilizing our expertise in sourcing, supply chain and manufacturing and Rich Footwear Group’s expertise in this market, we anticipate a very strong partnership,” Leomil Group CEO Albert Milhado said through a written statement.

Rich plans to pursue more licensing deals moving forward, but is solely focused on getting Angry Birds into retail stores at the moment. The executive and his team will showcase the line for the first time at the upcoming FFANY show in New York.

“One thing about retirement is you get the perspective that time moves pretty quick. It’ll be great to see old friends again [at FFANY],” Rich said. “We anticipate booking a lot of business over the next several weeks as we prepare to ship this fall.”