Three decades ago, Duluth, Minnesota, was in the doldrums. A steel mill had just closed. Unemployment was more than 20 percent. Someone posted a billboard on the way out of town that read: "Last one out, turn out the lights."
"We were as Rust Belt as they come," recalled Andy Goldfine, who in 1984 rented an old three-story brick building, bought a bunch of used sewing machines and started a company called Aerostich. His vision was to make motorcycle gear for hard-core riders to wear over their work clothes.