Following the stock market crash of 1929, the 1930s were years of the Great Depression with wages dropping by up to 40% and unemployment raising up to 27% in Canada. Shoemaking was the main source of employment in Quebec City and Alfred Cloutier – the 10th child in a family of 14 and then Mayor of St-Emile – started making moccasins to provide for his family.
His brother Arthur also founded his own moccasins company. There were about 20 companies making slippers and moccasins in the late 1930s in St-Emile, a suburb of Quebec City. After a year of operation, Alfred Cloutier was struggling and decided to join forces with his leather supplier L.F. Villeneuve. The two associates grew the business but Alfred Cloutier passed away only five years after founding the company, in September 1943 and at the age of 44. Mr. Villeneuve needed someone who knew the shoe business and approached Arthur, Alfred's brother, to take on the manufacturing operations.
The company was then run by Mr. Villeneuve until he passed away in 1964. His son Raymond-Marie and his daughter Therese took over the company and R-M Villeneuve ran the business until he passed away in 1976. That same year, Serge Brie – current owner and president of Alfred Cloutier Ltd. – acquired the company. The business employed about 40 people at that time. Mr. Brie grew the business and manufactured moccasins, slippers, and winter boots. He expanded the factory three times and in 1989 acquired competitive footwear manufacturer H. Barbeau Ltd., reaching a high of about 200 employees.
After decades of designing, manufacturing, and distributing boots to important clients, Alfred Cloutier launched, in 2018, the Alfred C. brand aimed at independent and high-end stockists. In 2019, the company launched its first transactional website and the world's first custom winter boots and custom slippers.
Over the years, four generations of the Cloutier family have worked for the company, including Rejean who currently serves as Pattern maker. The company has manufactured over 2.5 million pairs of footwear for its 500+ clients in 7 countries, serving some clients for over 50 years.
Alfred Cloutier’s history and expertise are told in every stitch of every shoe we’ve ever made. Since 1938, the company has designed, manufactured, and distributed a wide variety of footwear—everything from boots and shoes to slippers and moccasins.
Indeed, Alfred Cloutier boasts over 80 years of superior craftsmanship, mastering every step of the shoemaking art. Across cultural shifts and changes in fashion, each generation has explored new materials and manufacturing techniques to design beautiful footwear that is attuned to the times and customers' needs.
Alfred Cloutier’s commitment to beautiful and innovative shoes continues today. Our R&D, design, and production facilities located both in Quebec City, Canada and abroad allow us to craft high-quality footwear. Our teams remain commited to providing footwear that is envied everywhere and chosen above all for its fashionable style and uncompromising quality.