By Megan Sajdak, Marketing Director
We are proud to announce that Stan’s Fit For Your Feet and our President/CEO Jim Sajdak have been named “The 2013 Retailer of the Year” by the National Shoe Retailers Association (NSRA).
In a recent press release about the award, Rick Ravel, chairman of NSRA’s Board of Directors said, “This prestigious award is given out annually to only one shoe retailer in the United States and Canada. This year we are happy to honor Stan’s Fit For Your Feet because of its strength as a locally-owned family business, exceptional customer care, commitment to the community it serves and service to the shoe industry.”
NSRA President Chuck Schuyler added, “Jim Sajdak truly believes that the biggest returns come from giving of one’s time, energy and heart to others. He has demonstrated that belief in many ways over several decades, and it’s a real pleasure to recognize him on behalf of his many colleagues and friends within NSRA.”
Stan’s was founded in 1950 by Jim’s father, Stan Sajdak, who grew up watching his father pursue a livelihood as a tanner, shoemaker and shoe store owner on Brady Street in Milwaukee. My dad, Jim, joined the company in 1972 and was named president and CEO in 1989. Under his leadership, Stan’s Fit for Your Feet expanded from one store to its current three locations. Today, our company also runs New Balance stores in Brookfield and Greenfield. In addition, my three siblings – Andrew, David and Ben – and I have all chosen careers in the family business and all play an important role in the management of Stan’s and New Balance store operations.
Exceptional Customer Care
My grandfather used to say, “It doesn’t matter how good, how fancy, how expensive your shoes are. If they don’t fit right, they’re useless.” That’s why every time a customer comes in to one of our stores, a Fit Specialist will measure both of their feet to ensure they purchase proper fitting shoes that look great, too!
Fitting shoes properly is so important to us that my father, all of my siblings, two of our Fit Specialists and I have become Certified Pedorthists through the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics. As Certified Pedorthists, we are able to fit, fabricate and adjust therapeutic shoes or orthotics prescribed for therapeutic purposes. All of our sales representatives also partake in ongoing education to bring the best care and information to customers.
My father says, “Making sure our customers have comfortable footwear is our business, so we have made understanding how the foot works a priority. How a shoe fits can greatly impact a person’s posture, comfort level and daily performance. It needs to be taken seriously.”
Committed to Greater Milwaukee
Over the years, we have also made giving back to the community a priority. Our Share-A-Pair Shoe Drive, now in its seventh year, has collected more than 140,000 pairs of new and gently used shoes and distributed them to people in need through Father Gene’s Help Center in West Allis, Repairers of the Breach Homeless Day Shelter in Milwaukee and Soles4Souls, a global not-for-profit organization.
We are also involved in many local runs and walks, including Komen’s Race for the Cure, Girls on the Run and Brigg’s & Al’s Run/Walk for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Each fall, we donate a portion of our back-to-school sales to Children’s Hospital to fund supplies for its internal school. All our Stan’s and New Balance Milwaukee stores also collect food for the Hunger Task Force.
Advancing the Shoe Industry
Over his 42-year career, my father has served in various leadership roles within the shoe industry. He was elected to the NSRA Board of Directors in 1995 and served the Association as a conference speaker/panelist, an Education Committee member and head of several committees before being elected Chairman of the Board in 2001. His most noteworthy accomplishment, however, came in 2009 when he headed NSRA’s NextGen initiative. This program works in partnership with the Family Business Center at Chicago’s Loyola University to train NSRA members to manage the complexities involved in bringing new generations into a family-run business. My brothers and I all participate in NextGen and are passionate about carrying Stan’s and New Balance Milwaukee’s identity as a thriving local, family-owned business into the future.
Thank you for contributing to our success over the years. Providing our customers with the best fit remains our priority, and we are honored to serve you and your family’s footwear needs.