Footwear billionaire presented wth Saskatchewan-made moccasins during recent visit
- Tara Campbell | May 29, 2018
The owner of one of the largest footwear companies in the world is now the proud owner his very own Saskatchewan-crafted moccasins, thanks in large part to the province’s premier running store, Brainsport.
New Balance owner Jim Davis was in Saskatoon in April to visit Brainsport, where he was presented with an evening highlighting Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal community, including being gifted with a pair of moccasins featuring the New Balance logo, crafted by Cree artist Katelyn Paskemin of Sweetgrass First Nation.
“Every year Jim Davis does a cross-country tour of Canada and this was his first-ever stop in Saskatchewan. I wanted to give him an experience he’d never forget,” said Brian Michasiw, Brainsport founder and owner. “I think that a lot of times he’ll go into a shop and they’ll talk about some basic fundamental business things like margins or discounts, or procurement - and I thought those are all important things that need to be discussed - but this wasn’t the time or place.”
“I thought this was about an education about what Brainsport stands for and how New Balance has supported that,” explained Michasiw. “Saskatoon is Canada’s youngest city and that is because of the First Nations demographics. I think it would be naive and irresponsible if we didn’t discuss the most up and coming demographic in this province,” said Michasiw.
“On one hand there’s opportunity there for a business like mine, but there’s also a responsibility for a business like mine to accept some truths and responsibilities on how to do this in Canada and specifically Saskatchewan with regards to First Nations people.”
To provide Davis with an entertaining and informative presentation, Michasiw turned to his network of friends and associates. The New Balance guests were greeted with a welcome song to Treaty 6 Territory and the homeland of the Metis performed by Marc Okihcihtaw and incorporated special presentations featuring guest speakers Jason Warick, Tarrant Cross Child, and Derek Rope.
“The Brainsport presentation was very meaningful in that it clearly demonstrated their incredible culture and commitment to their community,’ said Davis. “It is also one thing to recognize New Balance’s involvement by writing an email, or even talking about it on the phone – but to actually meet the people responsible, and hear firsthand about the impact we are having, was very emotional and touching.”
Both Brainsport and New Balance are supporters of Tarrant Cross Child’s Child of the Cross Running Clinics, which reaches communities in Northern Saskatchewan and beyond with its message of hope and restoration.
“New Balance has always believed in giving back to our local communities where we do business. Tarrant and his outreach to some of the most highly affected areas of North America is a great demonstration of these valuable efforts,” said Davis. “Anne (wife) and I are extremely proud of the New Balance culture that supports working together with great people like Tarrant and Brian to truly make a difference in the world.”
As for the moccasins, Davis said he was “honoured and delighted” to have received the “special gift” and that he’s taken them home to “enjoy.”