Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Geology

First Advisor

Dr. Charles R. Gildersleeve


This study addresses and follows the changing nature and character of the Dehner Boot Company of Omaha, Nebraska between 1883 and 1997. It examines the spatial (or geographic) patterns of change the company followed through its conception outside the gates of Fort Riley, Kansas, its influx of orders forcing it to seek a new facility in Wichita, Kansas, and the internal problems forcing the company to divide. This study used methodology proposed by Ann Markusen searching for qualitative data through interviews with the past and present president of the company to unravel the decision making process that forced the company to settle in Omaha, Nebraska. It researches the key decisions made during periods of profitability (early Nineteenth century), drought (1930s), war (1940s), and market loss (late 1940s) when the horse fell out of vogue. It examines the decisions made by company to focus on niche segments within the equestrian and law enforcement worlds, carving out a place in order to survive in the regional, national, and global markets. As a result, this company has became a two million dollar success, satisfying markets not profitable to the larger companies, even through the product is labor intensive, and when many companies are moving overseas for cheaper labor. The Dehner Boot Company represents the successful management of assets, resources, people, and marketing techniques that should be studied by city planners as they establish city industrial plans and small businesses as they try to choose the optimum location.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Geography/Geology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1998, Larry J. Mastin

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