One of my friends started showing up at our usual meeting place with the coolest shoes, all of the comfort nature and yet colorful and sharp. “What’s with the new shoes and sneaks? Are you keeping secrets from me?” She told me that she was at the Red Barn on the Plaza and went into US Footwear and tried on a few pair and decided to get rid of the high heels and give her feet a break. So I went and was so enthused about the quality, the comfort and the price of these shoes. I bought sandals and two pair of sneakers that are a dream to wear. And I’m not a sneaker person but there’s always room for change.
I brought another friend with me and he bought Taos sandals, Minnetonka Moccasins. So being the curious interviewer that I am, I nosed my way into contacting the owner of US Footwear and we had a conversation. His name is Alan Boiko, and I wanted to know why he stocks just comfort shoes and what’s trending in footwear these days. Comfort footwear, that is.
Alan told me he had various roles in the sales world, some with footwear and others completely unrelated, but that he felt a good-for-your-shoe store would be a big hit at the Red Barn in the Plaza.
Alan started the business as a secondary company that actually grew out of his experience as a Sales Rep, something he did for years. The idea was to sell shoes and other assorted footwear that were all casual comfort footwear. He’s been doing this for 15 years with his present staff, at the Red Barn Plaza for 13 years. Their location is distinctive in that being in the plaza stores you have more of an actual 4-walled-store effect that is more permanent looking than a flea market booth setup.
Alan loves the business. He has a full line of comfortable, moderate-to-upper priced goods, which he keeps at comparable prices to other retailers, but his main desire is not to be a discount shoe store as much as to give you a place to get your comfort footwear. The selection includes Minnetonka Moccasins, Crocs, golf shoes, western boots, Sketchers, and Taos sandals. Ellie is the manager for many years and delivers great customer satisfaction.
Alan was active in running for years and used to sell medical footwear and podiatric footwear. He displayed his inventory at trade shows and running expos and running clinics. His involvement with the Charcot Marine Tooth Clinics and the three doctors who formed that group to help this medically accepted condition was very enlightening.
“What makes you different from other stores of this type”? “Well, first and foremost we provide knowledge and great customer service. We cater to our customers and give them fair prices. We are not known as a discount show store. We have a great selection consistently and therefore have a lot of repeat business every winter.”
U.S. Footwear is located at 1707 1st St at the Red Barn Flea Market, in the Plaza. Call them at 941-746-8196. Their hours are: closed on Mondays, and Tuesdays thru Sundays, 8 am – 4 pm. Come out and meet Ellie and get yourself some truly comfortable shoes and sandals and you’ll be hooked!