VICTORIA, VA. -- A North Carolina boot manufacturer has leased a former Craddock-Terry Shoe Corp. factory in Victoria and plans to put 150 people back to work by summer.

Victoria town officials announced last week that B.B. Walker Shoe Co. of Asheboro, N.C., plans to use the 40-year-old building to expand its production of outdoor work shoes, hunting boots, industrial safety shoes and Western-style boots.

Craddock-Terry stopped using the Victoria factory in 1986. The company shut down the rest of its manufacturing plants last September and filed for reorganization under protection of the bankruptcy code on Oct. 21.

Walker Shoe is a 40-year-old company whose brand names include Walker, Golden Retriever and Abilene.

President Kent T. Anderson said the company decided early last year it wanted to expand its capacity and began looking at buildings, including empty shoe factories.

"We were seeing a lot of good facilities," Anderson said. "But we were also looking for good people ... In Victoria, the discussion very quickly turned to people rather than facilities."

Before Walker Shoe made its decision to locate in Victoria, Lunenburg County ran an advertisement for experienced shoemakers interested in working in Victoria. Walker Shoe was pleased by the response. Walker shoe has about 800 employees, most of them at plants in Asheboro and in Somerset, Pa.

The Victoria building will be the first of the nine former Craddock-Terry plants to be used by another shoe manufacturer.