Seattle shoppers in search of comfortable, functional and fashionable footwear look no further than The Woolly Mammoth. Located just a block from the University of Washington campus, the store was opened in 1970 by Pat Andre. What started as a leather-working shop evolved, with the help of Pat’s wife, Liz, into the local comfort footwear destination it is today. Footwear Plus spoke with Heather Corbin, general manager and buyer at The Woolly Mammoth, to see what keeps their customers of all ages coming back.
Q: How has business been so far this year? A: The beginning of the year was a little slow but we had a great spring and summer and the fall has been pretty solid with sales holding steady or increasing from last year.
Q: What are your best-selling brands? A: Birkenstock, Pikolinos, Naot, Dansko, Haflinger and Smartwool.
Q: What are your hottest sellers right now? A: The Birkenstock Arizona is very popular right now and almost all of our Pikolinos boots are doing great. We are also doing well with a newer line, Jafa, and its colorful unique boots made in Israel.
Q: Do you have any in-store events? A: We sponsor a booth and have an in-store event for the annual University District Street Fair (one of the oldest in the country) which attracts over 100,000 people every year. We participate in University-sponsored events such as the back-to-school event “Up Your Ave” and “W Day” as well as customer appreciation days several times a year.
Q: What keeps customers coming back to an independent retailer? A: People keep coming back to us for the service and selection we provide. We also have many customers that like to support locally-owned businesses. People come to us from all over the Northwest to find something different than what you would find at the mall.
Q: What’s the best part of your job? A: The best part of my job is the shoes!