Peninsula Small Business Talk

from the Peninsula Executives Association

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Posts Tagged ‘Footwear Etc’

Walking in their Shoes with Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc.

Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc. began by giving a quick overview of his company.  They have seven locations in the area and two in San Diego.  At Footwear, Etc. they sell comfort shoes- everything from athletic shoes to sandals, to supplies for people with foot problems.  They work with a lot of podiatrists.  Avi brought two of his managers to speak from the stores PEA members frequent most often.  He brought Michell Ramos the manager of the Los Altos store, and Caree Oller, the manager of the Palo Alto store.

Michell has been with Footwear, Etc. for 10 years, starting at the age of 19 in Los Altos.  She moved to Palo Alto and was mentored by Avi for about a year and a half before moving back to Los Altos in 2007.  One of many lessons she learned from Avi is the importance of paying attention to the details.  Since Michell took over the Los Altos location, their profits have gone up every year.  She feels that the most important aspect of running a store is the human aspect.  It is important to connect with customers on an emotional level and showing that they are not just dollars to you.  Customer service is something Michell always focuses on.  She tries to create a positive and helpful experience to create returning business.  Michell also tries to keep a clean and organized environment.  Most importantly, Michell thinks it is important to manage personalities.  She is always working to keep her employees happy, and they will bring that warm and positive attitude to the floor and the customers.

Caree has been in the shoe industry for 38 years, beginning in her father’s shoe store at the age of 12.  Caree opened her own shoe store in Portland in her 20s and ran that store successfully for 20 years.  After the recession, she moved back home to the Bay Area and looked for the best shoe store in the area.  Footwear, Etc. mimicked her shoe store in their focus on customer service, their philosophy and the focus on the anatomy of the foot. In Portland, Caree was the president of a marketing group, belonged to a business association, and worked very closely with the Mayor.  She has only been with Footwear, Etc. for six months and manager for one week, but she brings in a lot of experience and has a great team.

The selection of shoes does vary from store to store, but Avi says the inventory is 90-95% the same.  The Sunnyvale location is a little different because it is their value center, so they have a small section of current merchandise, but the rest is discounted (past seasons, one of the last few pairs, etc).  Michelle commented that the most common shoe size for women tends to be 8 – 8 ½, and for men it is 10 – 10 ½. Avi says these average sizes have gone up over the last 30 years or so.  Some of the things Michell can tell by the shoes you are wearing when you come into their stores are if you are a value shopper, if they care about their feet or not, and whether they are willing to invest in their feet or not.  Caree added that you can tell how a customer stands and what insole to recommend by the wear pattern on the bottom of the shoe.

March Success Stories Round-up!


  • Laurie Moore, Larry’s Autoworks thanked Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage for the refinance.
  • Erik Jacobsen, Threestory Studio got a call from another attorney from the law firm that he mentioned in his classification for more visual information design.  His work will also be used by the Los Altos Rotary for their upcoming Fine Arts in the Park.
  • Randy Mills, Pioneer Services bought a new van through Mike Feller, Innovative Sales & Leasing and said it was much better than going through a dealership.
  • Maureen Clark, Clark Associates thanked Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing for coming to the rescue again.
  • Tom Brown, All Reasons Moving reported that they just finished looking at their quarterly results and were up 25% in January and 15% in February.
  • Kaye Sharbrough, Senior Seasons thanked David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties for fulfilling her small order – buttons congratulating a friend who just won an award for being an exceptional woman in publishing.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler reported that they won Best Jewelry Store and Best Watch Repair.
  • Judy Ott, Judy Ott Organization and Design thanked Dan Ingerman, Wemorph for the postcards she handed out at a recent presentation. Lastly, she thanked Richard Phillips, Advantage Career Solutions who has help her friend from out of state find a job at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga (Go Gaels!).
  • John Sylvester, SST Insurance Brokers had his hair cut by the President… of PEA, Susan Scott, Expressions Salon.
  • David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties thanked Carol Garsten, Nature Gallery for the amethyst he bought for his wife and Mike Feller, Innovative Sales & Leasing for the help with getting his brand new Prius.
  • Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc said after throwing his back out on Monday he saw Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic who adjusted him and used a laser treatment on his back.  Only three hours later, Avi felt much better.
  • Skip Gould, San Mateo Daily Journal thanked Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures for running an ad in the paper for her recent estate sale.  He was able to get the ad in past the normal deadline and was happy to hear the sale was a success.
  • Executive Director Neal Coogler, announced a success for PEA.  The PEA Facebook page now has more than 35 ‘Likes’!  Mike Clark, Michael J. Clark, CPA won the grand prize drawing for three pounds of Connoisseur Coffee.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist recently had her car in the shop at Larry’s Autoworks. She really appreciates the top notch service there, including the fact that they take time to thoroughly answer all her questions.
  • Karen Bowne, Sheraton Palo Alto thanked Werner Rogmans, Stanford Floral Design for his help weekend before last.  She was attending a housewarming party and needed a gift.  She went by Werner’s shop and he arranged a beautiful house plant for her.
  • Nichole Fox, Payroll City announced that they have just taken on a big new client.  The client, who has 135 employees, went from a big name payroll service to Payroll City and in the process is going from an annual cost of $13,000 to $8,000.
  • Dr. Linda Hur, Mountain View Optometry thanked Scott Yeaman, Yeaman Autobody, for fixing her car for the second time.
  • Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage won a pound of Connoisseur Coffee in the PEA Facebook page contest a week or two ago.  She gave the coffee to her aunt, who is a dedicated coffee drinker.  Her aunt loved the coffee and ordered three more pounds through Julie.

January 2012 Success Stories Round-up!

PEA businesses are starting 2012 off well!  Congratulations on everyone’s successes this month.

  • Bette Asbra, Pro-Staff Painting thanked Tom Brown, All Reasons Moving and Terry Pebbles, Optimum Floors.  Terry put in a beautiful hardwood floor for a client and All Reasons not only moved the furniture out for the installation, when they moved it back in they put on anti-scratch pads.
  • Dan Ingerman, Wemorph said that they just worked on designing a set for a TV show.  The TV show is based in Palo Alto and Dan will be talking about sustainability.
  • Larry Hassett, Hardware Stores took a car that needed body work to Scott Yeaman, Yeaman Autobody. He wrote a positive review for Scott’s web site, which entered him into a drawing.  Larry won a Flip Video camera, which he likes a lot.
  • Jon Maystrik, Arborwell Professional Tree Management had a great year last year.  Arborwell had great growth last year especially in Southern California.  Jon had a great year personally and thanked PEA for contributing to that.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler was in New York last week and wanted to report that the Christmas holiday season was good for them.  She thanked everyone at PEA who helped make that possible.
  • Richard Phillips, Advantage Career Solutions, says that this has been a good year so far for his clients.  One just signed off on a job as an IT Director with a pay raise.  Another was hired with a sign-on bonus at PayPal.
  • Albert Ong, Ambassador Services signed a big contract with Stanford.  He immediately had to go in with one day’s notice to clean carpets before a Saturday event.
  • Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc., said that December was a record month for them, especially in the Palo Alto and Los Altos stores.
  • Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures thanked Robin Azevedo, McRoskey Mattress Company for sending the most interesting new client in several years.  She also thanked Darnel Rogan, Saber Roofing for a lead on a job in Atherton.
  • Shawn McMillan, Connoisseur Coffee thanked everyone for the orders over the last week.  It has been 13 months since the fire and he is now hoping to re-open in a few more months.
  • Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage says that in doing her business tracking at the end of the year, she saw that 25% of her business came through Yelp.  Anyone who doesn’t have a Yelp profile should be working to correct that.
  • Darnel Rogan, Saber Roofing thanked Bob Rosenberg, GR8WORK Builders, Inc. for a lead on job in Portola Valley.
  • Bobbie Fakkema, Events, Etc… thanked Jeff Badzik, Perfection Auto Detail for the beautiful detailing on her car.  She also thanked Laurie and Larry Moore, Larry’s Autoworks for going over her car (one of the things she bought at the Holiday Auction).
  • Carol Garsten, Nature Gallery said there is a good reason why you haven’t seen her at the meetings lately – she is moving the Nature Gallery to a new location in Los Altos.  The new address is 296 State Street, Los Altos.  She plans a Grand Opening on February 10.  She also reported that January was her best January in 25 years of business.  She thanked Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler for sponsoring her in PEA and suggesting the Los Altos location.  She thanked Dave Dove, Cassidy Turley BT Commercial, for helping her negotiate the lease in her new location. Finally, she thanked Susan Hamilton, VTF Services for the help with the plants.
  • Larry Moore, Larry’s Autoworks thanked Jon Maystrik, Arborwell Professional Tree Management for the beautiful job they did on their trees.   The neighbors came over and complimented the job.  Laurie Moore, Larry’s AutoWorks thanked Susan Hamilton, VTF Services, for coming over and taking piles of redwood chips from their tree trimming project.
  • Kaye Sharbrough, Senior Seasons thanked Dan Ingerman, Wemorph for the new Seniors Seasons sign-on-a-stand.  This solves an upcoming problem of needing to be in two places at once, thus needing a second banner.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist announced that last Wednesday was her last in San Mateo.  She is now only going to her San Mateo office on Mondays.  While she feared that her patients would be unhappy about this change, she got positive responses from them.
  • Gary Rudolph, Rudolph’s Interiors thanked Angelo Izzo, California Business Opportunities for his help investigating a business opportunity.

October/November Double Feature- Success Stories Round-up!

  • Gary Rudolph, Rudolph’s Interiors said his open house went well.  He turned his workroom into a showroom for the event.  He thanked Albert Ong, Ambassador Services for getting a seemingly impossible-to-remove stain out.  He thanked Skip Gould, San Mateo Daily Journal for handling the ad and was glad to see a few PEA members there.  He had flooring covering by Terry Pebbles, Optimum Floors also included in their presentation.
  • Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc said that the Footwear, Etc. owner just had a big event at the Sheraton Palo Alto.
  • Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic had a success story for Jeff Badzik, Perfection Auto Detail.  Jeff was voted best auto detailer in the Bay Area by 95% of his customers.
  • Dave O’Neal, Comtech Computing thanked Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing for the smooth installation of a new heater while he was gone.
  • David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties is celebrating his 30th year as a PEA member this month.
  • Maureen Clark, Clark Associates thanked Albert Ong, Ambassador Services for the great job cleaning her carpets.  She also thanked Roger Bolgard, Jackson & Miller for the referral.
  • Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures thanked Curtis Lane, Lane Cleaning Services for help with a recent client.  This was a fast turnaround job with 24 hours notice and the team did a great job.  She also thanked Dave O’Neal, Comtech Computing for yet another computer rescue.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler thanked Werner Rogmans, Stanford Floral Design for the flowers for her mom.  She also was modeling a new line of Italian gold jewelry.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist thanked Albert Ong, saying that Jonathan Ong, Ambassador Services cleaned her 20-year-old couch and it looks like new.
  • Susan Scott, Expressions Salon thanked Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage for all the work on the new loan.  She was thrilled to get 4.12%.
  • Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures thanked Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing for the great job his plumber did.  She also thanked Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic, saying that the laser treatment has really been helping her knee.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist reported that the current issue of Gentry magazine has a beautiful picture of Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler.
  • Erik Jacobsen, Threestory Studio has started a Facebook page called Startling Statistics in which he features some of his previewed graphics.  Go by and check it out on Facebook (and don’t forget to like his page).
  • Karen Bowne, Sheraton Palo Alto thanked Larry and Laurie Moore, Larry’s AutoWorks for their recent help.  Her car was just past warranty and she took it to them.  Larry felt that the dealership ought to fix the problem and gave them a call.  In the end, the dealer did fix it at a savings of $750 to Karen.
  • Carol Garsten, Nature Gallery celebrated her 24th year in business last week.  She is also showing some of the work of a local artist in her gallery who works with organic, natural stones and silver.  This artist has become very well known during the years that Carol has worked with her and now has pieces in 62 galleries.
  • Bobbie Fakkema, Events, Etc… thanked Susan Hamilton, VTF Services for fixing her garden.  She also used the crew at Arborwell (thanks to Jon Maystrik, Arborwell Professional Tree Management) to remove a tree and did some shopping at Mollie Stone’s Market.
  • Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage thanked Susan Scott, Expressions Salon for her long-overdue (as she described it) haircut.
  • Shawn McMillan, Connoisseur Coffee says that they began construction on rebuilding the Connoisseur Coffee building.
  • Konrad Thaler, Smilin Dogs thanked David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties for the receipt of a shipment of Smilin Dogs jackets.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler says that the Stanford Mall gets tour buses from time to time.  She recently had a visit from some Asian gentlemen who purchased four Rolex watches with cash and flew back home the next day.
  • Gary Rudolph, Rudolph’s Interiors will be demonstrating some of his techniques to students from Cañada College.