On the corner of Memorial and Second avenues is The Shoe Inn.
It’s not a new store by any means, but the new location has given The Shoe Inn new life, according to owners Sharon and Holly Ney.
The new location, Sharon said is bright and airy.
“It’s a great atmosphere to work in and just really positive. It’s the look we were going for and I think we’ve done it,” Sharon said.
The Shoe Inn, which was originally located on Memorial Avenue, has now moved about 50 metres up the road to the corner of Memorial Avenue and West Second Avenue. Holly said they moved locations on Fire & Ice weekend at the end of April.
“It was a little scary for us because we come from the little store to a bigger store. Is it going to work? Is it not going to work?” Holly said. “So far — we haven’t been here long — but it’s the best thing that we have ever done. It’s so great.”
Sharon said her husband did a count of foot traffic in front of the old location in comparison to the new location, and she said the difference is almost doubled.
“We had an idea (of the growth) just because of the size and space and location, but I didn’t realize it would be that profound,” Sharon said.
“We’re so much busier. I haven’t got the figures, but so much busier,” Sharon said. “More walk-in traffic. Just people in the community actually, who have never been into the Shoe Inn — and the Shoe Inn was (in the previous location) for almost 15 years — now they say, oh a shoe store. They’re just so amazed.”
Sharon and Holly, who are sisters-in-law, said they’re not trying to draw in a range of people.
“What we’re trying to do here, is we’re trying to bring everybody in, every age group in. We’re really trying to get the young kids from the high school,” Holly said. “We’re trying to bring in men and younger groups of people, I think we’re getting them in this store. We’re getting them more.”
In the old location, Holly said they used the front window to try and draw in younger customers.
“But people just didn’t look in there. Now we’re noticing we’re getting younger kids in. It’s been nice,” Holly said.
Holly said since moving, they’ve increased their inventory with a few more supplier and designers.
“If we can, we order in if there’s something somebody wants,” Holly said. “We’re just trying to bring in what people want and order what they want.”
Amazingly, Sharon said, the most of the inventory they have now was packed into the little store.
“We will add more to it as time goes on because we’ve got the space and I think the community is ready for it,” Sharon said. “We could see a need in the community for a more varied style of shoe to meet the needs of younger to middle-aged. There was a need, so we tried to fit that need and I think we’ve done a good job.”
With this new location, Sharon said they’re hoping The Shoe Inn will be more n the centre of activity.
“When there are events going on in town, it always sort of incorporates Second Avenue and we were a little bit isolated over there (on Memorial Avenue). Not much, but a little bit,” Sharon said.
The Shoe Inn, which Holly said was a family effort, was taken over by Sharon and Holly in August 2014.
Sharon said her and Holly were both looking for a new challenge in their lives.
“We love shoes, we love fashion, we love all of that. We can totally make that work. There’s been no looking back since then,” Sharon said. “Two years in and I’m still loving coming to work, so that’s a good testimony.”
Sharon’s husband suggested the two women buy the shoe store, according to Holly.
“We wanted the opportunity to open up, buy a business and work for ourselves and share the days,” Holly said, adding that the two of them used to work one person at a time.
“Now we like it to be two of us here. Our business is doubled,” Holly said.
They have found, Sharon said, that more times than not, both of them need to be working at The Shoe Inn to keep up with all the business.
The Shoe Inn is located at 102 West Second Ave., in Qualicum Beach and is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.