For more than 60 years, Shoes 4 Comfort has been providing orthopedic shoes and accessories to generations of residents in Silver Spring, MD. For shoppers looking for extended widths and sizes, the stores knowledgeable staff will hook customers up with comfortable styles from the likes of SAS, New Balance, Clarks, Beautifeel, Mephisto, Munro, Ecco and Naot. Orthotics, insoles, foot care products, and diabetic and casual socks are also available. Marguerite Satian, the stores president, says her customers No. 1 priority is comfort: Thats what theyre coming to me for, rather than style or price.

Current top-selling brands: We get a lot of referrals from doctors who advise their patients to come to our store and, Go get a pair of SAS shoes. Theyre not the most stylish, but theyre comfortable. Thats our main seller, followed by Munro. They offer sizes, widths and half-sizes that many European brands dont.

Just how has the non-winter to date impacted your sales? People are sticking with what they have and cold-weather shoes arent selling.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business? One of the biggest is vendors selling their products online. I dont think its fair to the merchants. We believe in those brands, bring in their merchandise and sell their goods”only for the brands to go online and cut their prices. Are you expanding your footwear assortment this year? Yes, but were also going to give a stronger push to SAS and basics from Munro, Naot and Beautifeel. Were going to play it safe with neutral colors and styles.

Is your customer base recovering, economically speaking? I think so. We do a mailer to our customer base each month and last year, in the springtime, we got at least 100 back from houses that had been abandoned. But since November, that has almost dropped to none. The recovery is real, and we dont have as many job losses as we did last spring.

How have your customers changed since the recession? Before the recession they would come in and buy at least two pairs. We always tell them that its never good to wear one pair of shoes every single day. Now its Let me try these out first, and My budget wont allow for two pairs, but next time Im in the market Ill definitely know which to buy. ”Lyndsay McGregor

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