George F. Johnson moved to Binghamton, New York in 1878 at the age of 22. He was the son of a career shoemaker and had learned every facet of the shoemaking business. In 1899, he entered into a partnership with a wealthy investor from Boston, named Henry B. Endicott. Together they formed the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company and began to take over the shoemaking industry in America. At its peak, EJ shoes employed over twenty thousand workers and produced more than 52 million pairs of shoes a year.