Suburban Shoes has been a long-standing staple in downtown Madison for as long as we can remember. Its tradition of providing personal service in a charming location sets it apart from big box retailers. Let’s get to know the owner!
Was your dream always to open a shoe shop? Tell us briefly how the store came to be.
No, it was never my dream. My dad had been in the business for 25 years and a year after I graduated college the opportunity to purchase Suburban Shoes arose and it was the best decision I could have made.
Your store has had amazing staying power through many changes downtown—what has been the secret to your success?
No secret really, my employees and I are passionate about what we do and offer our customers great service. Our patrons recognize and appreciate this and they continue to come back.
What is your go-to meal in town?
Turkey Thursday at the Waverly Restaurant, of course!
If you didn’t own a shoe store, what would you be doing?
No clue. I don’t really think about things like that. I focus on where I am in the moment and what I’m working towards next.
What is a typical day for you like?
A typical day starts at 5:30 am for a workout in the gym. After that I take my kids to school and head to work for the day. I am usually home by 6:30 pm.
What advice would you give someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey?
Be prepared to sacrifice. Your time and energy belongs to the business and unless you are willing to dedicate yourself fully you will have a difficult time being successful.
What is the most rewarding part of owning Suburban Shoes?
The store has been in business since 1947 and to still be relevant in a retail world dominated by online shopping is by far the most rewarding part. We love seeing the many generations of families come into the store and hearing customers say “I got my shoes here when I was little” and “I brought my kids here for their shoes and now I am bringing my grandchildren.” This October will be our 75th anniversary—I am proud of our past and looking forward to our future!