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This Connecticut Sit-and-Fit is Drumming Up Laughs, and Traffic, on Instagram

Co-owner Matt Arciuolo, who heads the store with his father, Matt Sr., creates hilarious reels that generate a lot more attention than foot traffic alone.

Arciuolo’s Shoes is a traditional sit-and-fit that has been outfitting locals in downtown Milford, CT, for over 100 years. As a resident of the neighboring town, I’ve passed its storefront many times, but do you know where the retailer really caught my attention? Instagram.

Co-owner Matt Arciuolo, who heads the store with his father, Matt Sr., creates hilarious reels that drum up a lot more attention than foot traffic alone. Picture Santa coming in for a fitting; a Halloween video with a blow-up unicorn costume; father-son dynamics; and Matt getting ready, Olympic style, for the courts in an all-white tennis outfit, wristbands and all, to debut a New Balance pickleball sneaker. The posts lead with entertainment, and sometimes sprinkle in product information. “My primary goal when making these posts is to encourage people to visit our shop in person,” Arciuolo says, “I think of our posts as Super Bowl commercials; ridiculous but they get people talking about our business.”

Importantly, the retailer isn’t just throwing posts out into the ether. Arciuolo is putting some marketing dollars behind the app to make sure it’s reaching his target audience (like me!). “About 24 hours after I post something, I check the analytics and see how it’s performing organically,” he explains. “If it’s doing well, I’ll spend maybe $200 boosting it over the course of 30 days to help spread it around to a new audience. I’d say all in, I spend maybe $1,000 a month on social media promotion, but it’s money well spent in my opinion.”

Arciuolo's Shoes

Money well spent, indeed, as Arciuolo says customers mention they found the store on instagram almost every day. At first, he faced skepticism from his father who preferred the focus to be on selling shoes over creating goofy videos, but soon enough, the proof was in the pudding: “After the first month, we started getting a lot of business from those dumb posts and now he’s all in. He loves acting in them and being a curmudgeon.” 

The store is proving that social media can be a powerful tool to support a traditional brick-and-mortar format, and Arciuolo promises to continue to laughs through 2024. “I’m doubling my costume budget, collaborating with new people and businesses, and I plan to further debase myself in the name of entertainment,” he confirms.

The June 2024 Issue

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