Bauge & Alm Shoe Store was started in August of 1907 by Ole N. Bauge and Charles Alm. The store changed its name to Bauge and Son in 1920 when Jennings Bauge went into business with his father. The name changed again in 1932 when it became the Bauge Shoe Company, Inc. Bauge Shoe Co. was one of the longest lasting businesses in Ames.
In 1920, J. S. Bauge bought out [Charles] Alm's interest in the business to become joint owner with his father, and became sole owner of the company when his father died in 1951 at the age of 96 years.
The Bauge Shoe company features Freeman shoes for men, Narural Bridge and Fashion Craft shoes for women and Edwards shoes for infants and children. The store also handles the Goodrich line of rubber footware and a line of house slippers for all members of the family. "Our business is known as a family shoe store," Bauge said. "We carry every type of shoe for every member of the family from work shoes to party slippers."
Bauge's concentrates on stocking the finest lines of shoes for everyone in the family, keeping to fewer top lines than dabbling with a little of many lines because Bauge believes that in this way the store can better serve the customer. The store also carries a stock of all types of shoe polishes and shoelaces.
Through the years the business has been enlarged at three different times to include more floor space in the building. "When the business was started one of the main fixtures was the old pot belly stove that stood in the middle of the room near the back of the store. Today we heat with gas and have an air conditioning unit," Bauge said. "A lot of time has passed by since my father first opened this door to business in Ames." he added.
Si Larson, who started working for the Bauge Shoe company before World War I, is manager of the retail store. He came to the firm in 1914 and in five weeks will have completed 40 years experience with the the shoe store. Totaled together, Bauge and Larson have a sum of 87 years of experience in the retail shoe business.