Trade Home Shoes
Independent family footwear retailer Tradehome Shoes, celebrating its 100th-anniversary last year, is in rapid expansion mode. Launching new stores crossways the U.S. So far in 2022, Tradehome has unlocked five locations — in Rogers, Ark., Spokane, Wash.; Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio; then Vienna, W.V.
Another two stores will longbow this month, in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.; and in Chattanooga, Tenn., followed by two more doors future in the year. That will give the company 132 entries in 23 states by year’s end. And in 2023 and in the years to come, it aims to improve 10 to 12 stores annually.
At a time when many shoe retailers closed their doors or remained acquired by national chains, Tradehome has bucked the trend, posting the best sales numbers in 2021, according to president and CEO Justin Kehrwald. “Previously, 2019 had remained the strongest year for us. And we tried 2019 by 46% in 2021,” he said, adding that growth has come from same-store performance and new markets.
Trade Home Shoes President
Starting in 1921 in Superior, Wis., Trade home Shoes remains now headquartered in Cottage Grove, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. For the majority of its history, the company remained privately owned. Still, in 2014, it transitioned to being 100% employee-owned, or what remains referred to as an ESOP, whereby all Tradehome workers have shares in the company and receive profits directly.
The corporate strategy remains made at the executive level. However, as Lorne Streiff, director of marketing and e-commerce, pointed out, “As a leadership group, we look at our role as the support staff for the stores and the personnel.
I believe that assistances them to feel appreciated. And so our turnover is much inferior to the industry average. Once persons find us, they like to stick with us.” (Tradehome also pays 20-25% above the preliminary wage in the communities where it opens.)
And the fact that workers have a conferred interest in the business also has helped weather the supply chain crunch, clarified Kehrwald. “Our warehouse employees are proprietors as well, so they see it as a badge of honour when we get a product out, and it sells well, even before the brand has posted it on their site,” he said.
CEO Justin Kehrwald
Besides the ownership structure, Kehrwald held that Tradehome has a traditional business model based on fitting customers and providing high-level service. “We try hard to deliver the old-school, independent shoe retailer service. We do it in highly foot-trafficked shopping centres,” he said.
The regular store layout is 1,300 square feet of showroom space and 1,300 square feet of stockroom. Tradehome also functions as a developing e-commerce site launched in 2020 and complements the brick-and-mortar stores.
Tradehome Shoes location
As the company lasts to expand, localization is key to its strategy. Each store has an owner-operator empowered to create a regional-specific assortment, develop its floor plan, and forge partnerships with local medical professionals, nonprofits or running groups. “We want them to feel like they are the face of the business in each of our markets,” said Kehrwald.
The company also struggles to offer a unique selection of top brands, plus sneakers from Hoka One One, Brooks and On, and casual looks from Birkenstock, Hey Dude and various others. Nevertheless, brand partners say the Tradehome formula is advantageous on multiple fronts.
“Full-service retailers like Tradehome benefit drive brand awareness and create brand loyalty,” said Katie Wagner, VP of Americas sales for Hey Dude. “We’ve seen high conversion charges of our new product overviews at retailers like Tradehome. That has much to do with the trust associates have built with their clientele to make product recommendations that exceed expectations.”
Trade Home Shoes
While Trade home is bullish on its prospects, its leaders acknowledge that the competitive landscape has changed with more brands going direct to consumers. As a result, Kehrwald said his team has had “tough conversations” with vendors about price integrity and consumer acquisition and has cut ties with some that treated the retailer as a contestant rather than a partner.
Ultimately, however, Kehrwald and Streiff — both happening on the sales floor — believe the store’s responsibility lies. “Our analogy has continuously been, it’s not the gate going up, it’s the curtain going up,” said Streiff. “You have to make an environment that invites people in.” Added Kehrwald, “If somebody buys a shoe from Zappos that we carry, shame on us for not being entertaining enough to shop with us.”
A Tradition Of Service Since 1921
Customer service has continually been our #1 priority. For over 98 years, our emphasis has been providing the most enjoyable footwear shopping knowledge anywhere. Our knowledgeable staff greet you with a smile and listens to your wants and needs.
Amount your feet and exhaust all options to find the right style with the perfect fit. Then, visit any one of our 100+ locations to see for yourself! Tradehome Shoes is a 100% employee-owned service-oriented retailer of quality footwear.
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Independent family footwear retailer Tradehome Shoes, celebrating its 100th-anniversary last year, is in rapid expansion mode. The commitment to present outstanding customer service and beautiful shoes began in 1921.
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