||This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (February 2013)|
The Bally Shoe company was founded as "Bally & Co" high fashion in 1851 by Carl Franz Bally (1821–1899) and his brother Fritz in the basement of their family home in Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland.
In 1854, a shoe factory was set up in the village but Fritz Bally left the fledgling business soon after start-up. Carl Franz Bally carried on under the corporate name "C.F. Bally". By the 1860s Bally employed more than 500 people. Within another decade it had built an international reputation for quality and design in both men's and women's shoes and expanded operations outside of Switzerland to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Montevideo, Uruguay, and Paris, France.
Carl Franz Bally died in 1899 and his sons carried on with the business. Although the Bally family maintained voting control, in 1907 "C.F. Bally & Co. Ltd." went public, their shares listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange. The added capital allowed massive expansion for their much-in-demand shoes and by 1916 they employed more than 7,000 people.
The company survived the Great Depression of the 1930s and the difficulties of World War II to expand globally with great success in the post-War era including a successful entry into the North American market. In 1976 they added clothing, handbags and other leather accessories.
Family sells business
The following year the Bally family sold their interest in the company. Numerous difficulties followed and the company struggled under poor management against a tide of low-cost products from developing countries flooding the global market. In 1999 Bally was sold to the American investment fund Texas Pacific Group. On 22 April 2008 it was announced that Bally International AG is to be sold to Labelux Group Inc. Today the company is headquartered in Caslano, Ticino, Switzerland.