Mercedes-Made Anderson Bean Boots Gain National Following
David Nigro owns and runs a western store in Kansas and one city in South Texas has a special place in his heart.
“Mercedes, Texas is my second home,’’ he said.
Nigro’s Western Wear Store in Shawnee, Kansas is one of several hundred retailers in the United States that carries the Anderson Bean line of boots. It’s a brand that is a focal point to the sales of boot shops and stores across America and is also a mainstay in rodeos and western wear conventions.
Anderson Bean bills itself as being “handmade, Texas-made cowboy boots,’’ and they’re made in Mercedes. It’s a line of boots that has built a considerable national following. The AB boot brand has over 80,000 followers on Instagram and has over 93,000 likes on Facebook.
The social platforms are filled with photos from retailers across the United States in highlighting the AB boots they have designed in partnership with boot company executives and craft makers in Mercedes.
Nigro and his retail outlet in Kansas is a prime example. He, like other retailers, comes to Mercedes every year to look over leathers and styles and decide upon boot designs when visiting the South Texas boot factory by U.S. Expressway 77/83.
“The look, style and profile of an Anderson Bean is like no other,’’ Nigro said of a boot line launched in the 1980s. “From the first time I saw an Anderson Bean, I knew these boots were something special.’’
David Vidales, Jr., is a Mercedes native and a customer service representative for Rios of Mercedes Boot Company, which makes the Anderson Bean line. He said local residents often have no idea how much of a reach their hometown company has across the country.
“I don’t think people realize we’re making boots (like this) in their backyard,’’ Vidales said. “We’re a hidden gem in the (Rio Grande) Valley.’’
Anderson Bean is no secret to Paul Patterson, the vice president of PFI Western Store that is located near the country music western mecca of Branson, Missouri. The Booty Daddy collection of PFI Western boots is at the heart of a 50,000-square foot retail giant in the Midwest. No line of boots has been more important to PFI than the Anderson Bean boots of Mercedes.
“We’ve had a huge growth in Anderson Bean styles,’’ Patterson said. “We have over 125 styles of Anderson Beans. It’s hard to articulate how much it means to our business.’’
Patterson and PFI Western and the hundreds of other retailers are benefitting from generations of boot-making knowledge and traditions that have been part of Mercedes since the early 1900s. This expertise nurtured in Mercedes is highlighted across the country, with a pride “they’re American made,’’ said another retailer, Mike Ritchie of Waco.
The boot line has become so popular at U.S. retailers that it is often referred to as simply “AB,’’ or the “Anderson Beans.’’
Whatever they’re called, this boot line from Mercedes, Texas has made its mark across America.
- Ricardo D. Cavazos