President and CEO
Stan’s Fit For Your Feet and New Balance Milwaukee
17155 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield
Industry: Retail footwear
Family: Wife, Susan, and four children, all of whom are in the family business: Andy, Dave, Megan and Ben
How did you break into the shoe retail industry?
“I was literally born into the industry. I am the third generation of my family that is in the retail shoe business. My grandfather, Michael, opened a shoe store on Brady Street in 1923. My parents, Stan and Emerence, opened Stan’s Bootery in 1950. I joined my parents right after college, and I have been here since.”
What do you think led your company to be named “The 2013 Retailer of the Year” by the National Shoe Retailers Association?
“It was wonderful to be recognized by the National Shoe Retailers Association for 64 years of hard work. A consistent team effort by our entire staff, exceptional customer care, strength as a locally-owned family business, wonderful, unique products, great-looking stores, service in our industry and involvement in our community all led to our being named ‘The 2013 Retailer of the Year.'”
What’s new at your company?
“Wow…there are so many fantastic new shoes and products in our stores! At Stan’s, we have exciting new and colorful footwear from around the world. We have new styles of sandals that look great and that are comfortable as well. At New Balance Milwaukee, the latest revolutionary product is the Fresh Foam 980. It is a plush, lightweight running shoe with a really cool, 3-D printed design.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We are always looking for happy and hardworking people to join our Stan’s and New Balance team. Near the end of last year, we expanded our marketing department to grow our social media and community outreach efforts. We recently hired three new fit specialists, or salespeople, and are constantly looking for others to enter sales and management positions as our business continues to grow.
“As far as capital investments go, we are always updating our stores’ interiors and inventory with the freshest, most up-to-date products available. We also work hard to stay ahead with IT and equipment that help us to better serve our customers.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Despite the ever-changing retail environment, we need to stay competitive but also consistent. This means continually educating our staff on products and foot care/health and ensuring we are offering the best products out there. We also need to work to navigate the uncertainties surrounding updates in our industry, such as the new health care law.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“I have a number of business mantras: Don’t just sell a pair of shoes, make a friend. Keep your customer for a lifetime. Employees are your greatest asset.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“My dad would always say, ‘Conduct yourself in business each day so you can sleep with a clear conscience each night.'”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my new granddaughter. I also like to travel and do indoor and outdoor gardening.”
How many pairs of shoes do you personally own?
“I probably own over 30 pairs, but like everyone, I have my favorite three or four. Don’t forget, though: we have to buy every pair of shoes in our stores before we can sell them to our customers!”