MOUNT VERNON — Shoe Sensation, a national retail shoe store, will soon be opening a location in Mount Vernon, between Alltel and Taco Bell on Coshocton Avenue. A regional chain of shoe stores offering name brand shoes, the store carries a variety of styles, brands and sizes, including athletic footwear.
“The store [in Mount Vernon] will be about 4,800 square feet,” said Jim Quiggins, corporate spokesman for Shoe Sensation. “We will carry approximately 10,000 pair of first run, as we call it, of national brands. These include Clark’s, Nike and New Balance, and an extensive line of junior shoes for women such as Rocky Dog, Sketchers and Union Bay. We’ve got kid’s shoes from crib sizes all the way up to children’s sizes. We essentially can take somebody from Mount Vernon from birth to old age.”
Quiggins said the store will carry many popular shoes like Sketchers for kids, which are being marketed with specially created cartoon characters such as Heidi Hightop. Another popular brand is Air Raiders, which pump air through the shoes to keep the feet cool.
The store does not carry medical or orthopedic shoes, but will carry a number of brands that make shoes designed with the general needs of seniors in mind.
“We work very closely in several of our markets with podiatrists,” Quiggins said. “New Balance is a brand that is very focused on properly fitting shoes. SAS is another brand that for older people. I’m not sure if there’s someone in the market in Mount Vernon selling them right now. SAS is very exclusive. If we can have them there, we will. But a lot of times when we come into a market, someone else will be selling them. But if people have special issues and they need something we don’t have in the store, we will order it for them.
“Now, I haven’t been to Mount Vernon yet,” Quiggins said, “but I do plan to get there before the store opens. One of our criteria for opening a store is that we look for a friendly town. We’re a friendly store. But we are looking for small and mid-sized towns that are an hour’s drive or more from a major market. Our goal is to bring these national brands to these small towns. We want to make those brands accessible and we have been pretty successful doing that in towns like Mount Vernon. We try to look for towns that are not easily accessible to major shopping centers.
“And we do look at demographics, how it breaks out and overall population,” he continued. “We have a lease administrator who looks at different criteria for different markets. We look at what the competition is like and what the need is like. And we look at some numbers, as much as you can looking from the outside. But what it finally comes down to is driving around town and saying ‘Oh look. That’s a great place to put a shoe store.’”
Shoe Sensation is looking for local people to handle all aspects of running the local store. Quiggins spoke of the company’s emphasis on using local talent in its stores.
“We are a growing chain of stores, obviously. But our goal is to be a local shoe store,” he said. “Now in Mount Vernon, decisions are going to be made at corporate headquarters. But we try to look at it like we are a part of that community. And we are, because we depend on the community to support us, and we want to support the community.
“We don’t have a little Shoe Sensation University,” he continued. “We give our managers training, but we are looking for somebody in Mount Vernon, Ohio, who has the experience and desire to run a shoe store. And a lot of times the best managers that we find are the ones who didn’t even realize they were capable of running a shoe store. We don’t have a corporate policy of hiring from within. We like to hire local people.”
Quiggin said he hopes to have the store staffed by opening day.
“The grand opening is Nov. 5,” he said. “We are absolutely trying to get open for business before then, but the party’s going to start Nov. 5.”