This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, Speaking on Business.
How many locally-owned family shoe stores can you think of? I’m not talking about national chains like Payless. I’m talking local, family-owned shoe stores.
Well, there aren’t many. One that has been around for over 43 years is Gary’s Shoes in Richfield, Utah. In fact, it all really started 76 years ago in Manti as Jensen’s Department Store run by Gail Jensen. Gary’s Shoes, a branch of Jensen’s, moved to the present location on Main Street in Richfield in 1958. Gary’s son, Scott, manages the store at this time. (Incidentally, Scott’s real name is Gary Scott Jensen, so the name Gary’s Shoes is still appropriate.) Scott took over the store about 11 years ago after a career with the Nordstrom chain. You might remember that Nordstrom started as a family-owned shoe store. Scott started his shoe experience in high school and then on with Nordstrom to Ogden, Murray and San Jose, California.
Gary’s Shoes has seen lots of changes in the business. They began by carrying one or two items at a time. Now, the store has hundreds of pairs in one item. There is much, much more selection than ever before. And of course, there was a big increase in athletic shoes with the young people.
As I walked around the spacious store, I saw many brands displayed. Sketchers, Rockport, Red Wing, Born, Clarks, SAS, Nike, Adidas and many more. This truly is a store that specializes and offers outstanding choices and options.
Scott’s father, Gary, had an idea many years ago that is carried on to this day. He started the Gary’s Shoes Family Shoe Club. Families outfit their entire crew in shoes at Gary’s and keep track of the number. After you buy 12 pairs, you get the 13th pair free.
I have commented that if I ever needed brain surgery, I wouldn’t go to a general practitioner. I would find the best brain specialist around. I believe a specialist does a better job every time. And I think that applies to shoe stores. Gary’s Shoes really specializes.
For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.