A CENTURY-OLD AMERICAN DREAM COME TRUE
Frank Azzarito, the spirit that moved us.
We had been importing high-quality footwear from overseas since 2007. In 2010, almost spontaneously, we asked ourselves: Why not just build footwear in America? Something for the current times offering comfort, style and quality at an affordable price?
A couple of years later, with affordable luxury comfort footwear in mind our Telic brand was born in 2012. Our product line features flip flops, slides and z-straps all with an anatomical design made from a lightweight, elastic, resilient polymer compound. Interestingly, though, our true heritage and inspiration dates back over a century to Francisco Azzarito, who was born in the small southern Italian town of Sant’Agata di Puglia in the province of Foggia.
Francisco Azzarito was born the son of a cobbler and he had followed his father’s trade. He yearned though to build more fashionable shoes and came to America to pursue his dream to make shoes in the USA. Francisco landed on Ellis Island in the spring of 1920 when he was 16. He had come to America for the opportunity to fulfill his dream and with no knowledge of the language or culture Francisco settled in Brooklyn, New York. He later changed his name to Frank because he wanted to be a “real” American. Frank pursued several jobs until he finally began making shoes at the I. Miller Shoe Company and eventually became the foreman of the factory. He later served as the superintendent of the Fern Shoe Company in Los Angeles, California, until retirement.
The I. Miller Shoe Company,
where Frank become the foreman of the factory.
His son Rocco, the eldest of Frank’s six children, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1925, also found his way in the footwear industry. At 16, Rocco worked for the Barbour Leather Company and later in California for C. H. Baker; he then went on to open numerous successful retail footwear stores. Rocco’s youngest of four children, Rocco Jr., also followed his family passion for footwear and grew up working with his father in the family business. Rocco Jr. co-founded Telic International and serves as our CEO. Rocco’s son, Aaron, is our Marketing Director and Aaron’s twin sister, Aubri, is one of our designers.
“My Grandfather, Frank Azzarito, is truly the spirit that has moved us to rekindle the dream that America is a place where you can build footwear. Our mission is to build great footwear and to be part of restoring the American footwear infrastructure,” declared Rocco Azzarito, our CEO of Telic International. “The easiest thing to do would have been to produce Telic sandals in Asia, but we made a decision not to go the easy route and committed the necessary investment to bring our production to America.”
The first pair of our sandals produced in Georgia
at the end of June, 2012.
Azzarito’s partner Terry Stillman, also our co-founder and CEO of Telic International explains: “Like Frank I was also living and working in Europe, as an American expatriate, and came back to America for the opportunity to fulfill this dream. Telic International is headquartered here in Boise, Idaho and the sandals are made in a family-owned plant in Georgia. Consequently we have been able to reduce our carbon footprint, sharpen our just-in-time delivery, speed up our reaction time to the marketplace and become a part of supporting American industry and restoring American jobs. We are committed to producing affordable luxury comfort footwear in the U.S.A., and sharing this comfort with the world.”
Our first boxes shipping out to customers
at the end of June, 2012.
In an industry now dominated by Chinese and foreign-made products we have had to deal with ample doubt and resistance by many others. However this resistance and these barriers were overcome and appropriately on July 4, 2012 we launched Telic in the United States through hundreds of stores across the country. All of our marketing proudly revolves around our slogan “What Made In America Feels Like”. Due to its amazing comfort and “Made in the U.S.A.” unique selling points our brand has gained incredible momentum. Worldwide dozens of international distributors are already selling Telic in their countries and regions.
Rocco Sr., Rocco Jr., Frank (picture)
We have an ambitious business model that has not been pursued in this industry for many decades. We plan to introduce several styles of exciting footwear in the years to come, all made domestically, and we all eagerly look forward to the day when Telic shows up in Sant’Agata di Puglia, Italy where Frank was born.