Dave Stapleton recently sat down with Stephen Delaney, owner of newly opened footwear store ‘The Shoe Box’ in Wicklow Town, to learn more about his new venture and how he hopes it will bring back the convenience of shopping locally. For your chance to win a pair of Superfit footwear, read on to the end of the article!
It’s hard to miss The Shoe Box when you pass through Wicklow Town’s Main Street; its exterior is flanked by a beautiful red awning, shading the store front from the sun. It opens Monday-Saturday from 9:30-5:30pm (but soon will open Sundays by appointment for the back to school season) and caters for aged six months all the way up to ladies.
Originally, Stephen planned to solely stock children’s footwear, aiming to create a store that would suit the needs of Wicklow. When I asked why he decided to open the shop, Stephen told me “We always said we’d do this, when the right premises came about.”
Stephen believes The Shoe Box will play a key role in making parents shopping experience easier. He told me of the experience many go through each year, including Stephen himself — that being shopping for your children.
A solution to shopping woes
Drawing from his own personal experiences, he said “there’s a well known frustration of having to drive to the likes of Dundrum to purchase shoes . The kids don’t want to sit through such a busy and rushed atmosphere, and frankly neither do most parents.”
By opening The Shoe Box, he aims to create an environment where parents can come with their kids, and both the parent and child can have an enjoyable experience: “The most important thing for us is our customers, both the parent and child.
“When they come in, we’ve created an atmosphere the kids can truly enjoy and have fun. Between our many toys, playhouse, and healthy or sweet treats, we can entertain the child so the parent can have a much more relaxed browsing experience.”
Affordable but lasting
The stores range of children’s footwear has an emphasis on affordable, but lasting brands including Startrite, Skechers, Lelli Kelly, Superfit, Converse. The store makes sure to carry every single size for each different silhouette, and when a size is sold its swiftly re-ordered.
Customer satisfaction and feedback is something that is paramount for Stephen, which is what prompted him to stock children’s clothing and ladies footwear — the ladies range includes Sketchers, Converse and Dubarry.
For children’s clothing, their great range includes jeans, cardigans and tshirts from Levi’s, Mayoral and Tutto Piccolo — but the highlight of the store is their dresses, tops and two piece outfits. The Shoe box will only stock one size of each style, and instead of restocking that style once it sells, they replace it with a new design. This allows customers to get affordable and unique items for their children, and you can be sure your child will be the only one around with that particular item.
By bringing a new experience and product back to Wicklow, Stephens hopes it will encourage people to buy more locally — “one helps another” he said. “If we don’t have it, we’ll direct locally where to get it, and we love to see our neighbouring businesses succeed.” He also hopes by the likes of him “taking the plunge” of opening a new business, others may follow suit.
The stores other staff members, sisters Louise and Stephanie, are also local. Whether it’s staff or stock, Stephen has sourced from local suppliers where possible: “Our painter and carpenter were local, our mirrors, shelving and signage were also purchased locally. The majority of our stock even comes through Wicklow suppliers — pretty much everything you see is local!”
So far, The Shoe Box seems to be doing it right — they’ve accumulated 1,700 likes and 21 five—star reviews on their Facebook page at the time of writing.
A few different convenient services that the store runs have definitely contributed to the store’s positive reviews. A layaway service is available in the store — you can pick out an item and have it reserved so you can be sure it won’t be sold, and you then simply pay it off in your own time.
There’s also an in-store savings club available to help save up for Back to School, as well as a loyalty card which provides great discounts for returning customers.
Why not drop in to The Shoe box with your child today to meet Stephen and the team?