The Department of Defense has awarded a contract to Capps Shoe Co., a Lynchburg-based shoe company with its factory in Gretna, that will total $60.4 million over five years.

The men and women’s leather oxford dress shoes will be used by men and women in all United States military branches, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.

Tom Capps, president and owner of Capps Shoe Co., said the company will produce 225,000 pairs of shoes annually. This will bring the company’s production to somewhere between 450,000 and 500,000 pairs annually.

The company will aim to increase employment by 50 jobs in their Gretna facility. The capacity at the Gretna site is for 175 workers, but fewer contracts in recent years has led to layoffs, resulting in the current employment of 125.

“We’ll be back to our normal level with this contract,” Capps said.

Per the Berry Amendment, the Department of Defense must source all their equipment domestically, including the parts and the manufacturing. Capps Shoes Co. sources in the United States, but Capps said the only item they get from Virginia is the boxes.

With this contract, Capps believes the business is now the largest dress shoe company in the country.

“We’re really in position to add significantly more business,” he said.

The contract begins with a one-year base period for $11.6 million, followed by four more renewal periods if the Department of Defense is satisfied with the results.

Capps said he is excited to add more workers and praised his current employees for making this possible.

“Without good people you can’t make good shoes,” he said.

The company is looking primarily for additional stitchers, as well as machine operators.

Officials from Pittsylvania County and the town of Gretna did not respond to requests for comment.

With this new contract and several others, about 90% of the company’s production is for the Department of Defense, said Capps.

The company has 120 days to start delivering shoes. The performance completion date is Sept. 27, 2020, according to a release from the Department of Defense.

Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

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Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

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