"Opening Shoe Station is the best decision I've ever made," Founder and President Terry Barkin.
Mobile, AL (PRWEB) September 19, 2014
After more than 20 years working for a major department store in Atlanta, Terry Barkin decided in 1984 that he was ready for a career change. With experience in shoe sales and merchandising, the department store senior vice president tapped into his entrepreneurial side and opened a discount shoe store in the former location of a tire and battery store at 450 Bel Air Boulevard in Mobile, AL.
Thirty years later, the original Shoe Station store remains in that same location. And Terry Barkin’s venture to become president of his own company paid off. The family owned and operated business, of which Barkin still serves as president, has grown into one of the nation’s largest independent shoe retailers with 18 stores in 13 markets across 5 Southeastern states. Store 19 is set to open in the spring of 2015 in Foley, AL near Tanger Outlet Stores.
“I went from being an executive in a department store to becoming the buyer in all categories for Shoe Station,” says Barkin. “For the first five stores that we opened, I did everything—buying, store operations, advertising—by myself.”
“But opening Shoe Station is the best decision I’ve ever made,” he adds. “And, it’s only the second place that I’ve worked in more than 50 years of my professional life.
Shoe Station is in the midst of a series of promotions to commemorate the history of the company and unique retail strategies that have made the business successful for the past three decades.
With stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana, the company carries more than 100 name brands for every member of the family. Among the popular brands are Clarks, New Balance, Alegria, Vionic, Sperry, Rockport and Rampage.
“My father opened the first store with a simple philosophy—give the customers more selection and more control over their shopping experience,” says Shoe Station Vice-President G. Brent Barkin. “That has never changed.”
The younger Barkin, one of five children who have worked in the family-owned business, remembers opening day in 1984 when he made his first money at Shoe Station.
“My siblings and I were handing out balloons and popcorn at the front of the store. A woman asked us if we would give her some cardboard boxes because she was moving,” he recalls. “We helped her with the boxes, and she tipped us a quarter. And we knew the value of a quarter, even then.”
Along with that kind of service, loyal customers have come to expect discount coupons and special promotions from the shoe retailer.
Part of the anniversary celebration is the semi-annual “Win Free Shoes for Life” giveaway that awards lucky customers nearly $50,000 in cash prizes and shoes. Along with the grand prizewinner—who chooses to receive either $20,000 worth of shoes or a $10,000 cash prize—$1,000 gift cards are awarded to customers in each of Shoe Station’s 18 stores. Customers have until September 30 to register for the giveaway at any Shoe Station store. A $100 gift card is also being given to one lucky Facebook fan each day during September.
“Shoe Station has, for 30 years, been the Southeast’s regional chain. We conduct this promotion to give back to our customers who have supported us over the years—many of them since 1984. This drawing allows anyone in any of our markets the chance to win,” Barkin adds.
Famous for its large, self-service, open-shelf stores, the retailer stocks a wide selection of styles and sizes, anywhere from 60,000 to 125,000 pairs per store. With stores ranging in size from 12,000 to 25,000 square feet—some as long as football fields and nearly half as wide—Shoe Station also offers accessories such as handbags, belts, wallets, socks, and t-shirts.
For more information about the 30th anniversary celebration of the shoe retailer, contact Brent Barkin at 251-476-7472, ext. 141 or bbarkin(at)shoestation(dot)com.
Shoe Station stores, providing the largest selection of men’s, women’s, children’s and athletic shoes in the South, are located in Mobile, Spanish Fort, Montgomery, Prattville, Tuscaloosa, Dothan, and Auburn, AL; Albany, GA; Pensacola and Tallahassee, FL; Jackson, Flowood, D’Iberville, and Hattiesburg, MS; and Baton Rouge and Lafayette, LA.