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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
How many locally owned shoe stores can you think of? I'm not talking about national chains like Payless. I'm talking good ole' local, family-owned shoe stores.
Well, there aren't many. One that has been around for more than 45 years is Gary's Shoes in Richfield, Utah. In fact, it all really started more than 75 years ago in Manti as Jensen's Department Store run by Gail Jensen. Gary's Shoes, a branch of Jensen's, moved to its present location on Richfield's Main Street in 1958. Gary's son, Scott, took over the store almost 15 years ago after a career with the Nordstrom chain. (Incidentally, Scott's real name is Gary Scott Jensen, so the name, Gary's Shoes, is still appropriate.) You might remember that Nordstrom started as a family-owned shoe store too. Scott started his shoe experience in high school and then on with Nordstrom in Ogden, Murray and San Jose, California.
Gary's Shoes has experienced many changes. It began by carrying one or two items at a time. Now the store carries hundreds of pairs for each item. There is more selection than ever before, and of course, a big increase in athletic shoes for younger customers.
As I walked around the spacious store, I saw many brands displayed, including Sketchers, Rockport, Red Wing, Born, Clarks, SAS, Nike, Adidas and many more. This truly is a store that offers outstanding choices and options.
Scott's father, Gary, had an idea many years ago that continues to be practiced today. 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 a family buys 12 pairs, the 13th pair is free.
I have often said 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, particularly Gary's Shoes.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.