SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — Founder of Vans and footwear pioneer Paul Van Doren has passed away at the age of 90, according to an Instagram post by his family.
Van Doren started the company, along with his brother Jim, on March 16, 1966 in Anaheim, California.
The company sold just 12 pairs of shoes on its first day, but quickly grew to the liking of skateboarders, bikers and everyone attracted to the classic checkered flat-bottom design.
In 1984, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According the Vans, this wasn't due to low sales but it was actually the debt they accrued after designing so many different shoe designs.
Paul returned as the company's president shortly after and brought the company out of debt three years later.
Just last month, Paul released a memoir on the company's early years and massively successful past decades.
Paul's granddaughter, Kristy VanDoren-Batson posted about him to Instagram with the following message:
"My grandpa Van Doren passed away this afternoon. He was an amazing man and had accomplished a lot. I will miss him tremendously, but I know he’s in a better place. I love you grandpa!!!"
Van Doren started the company with his brother off a $250,000 investment more than 50 years ago.
In 2004, Vans was acquired by VF Corp. for $396 million.
Vans' official Instagram page posted about its cofounder saying that he wasn't simply an entrepreneur but an innovator.
"We send our love and strength to the Van Doren family and the countless Vans Family members who have brought Paul's legacy to life," the post read. "Thank you for everything, Paul. You will be sorely missed."
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