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Posted on June 9, 2015
If you want to know the meaning of success in Tallahassee there is a name that should know.That name is Shaw, Shaw Fromm. As as in Shaw’s Athletics in Market Square.
Shaw’s has been selling athletic shoes for over 30 years. You may ask yourself: How is that possible? With the economy the way it is and the “Big Box” stores flooding the market with their product, there is no way a small store in Market Square can stay in business that long. Yes, yes there is.
Shaw has a college degree from Vanderbilt, the “Harvard of the South,” and has been a tennis pro. Neither one of these aspects speaks to why he is so successful.
What makes this man so successful is his passion and professionalism. You will never meet a person with as much knowledge about athletic shoes as this man. On his own he “studied charts and bio mechanics” and “questioned anything he didn’t feel was right” regarding running shoes at the time.
He studied foot movements and figured out these were the key to selecting the proper running shoe. He learned from his own and other people’s injuries and mistakes about what works and doesn’t work. This culminated in him going to podiatry school and getting a pedorthic certification.
This puts him today at “35 years of experience and a medical degree.” Needless to say, this man knows his stuff.
He can teach you about orthotics, in a nutshell: the science behind choosing the right shoe, and that is a major factor in his success. You won’t be thrown into any pair of name brand shoes and sent out the door at Shaw’s.
If you are looking for a pair of shoes to be the cool person, you came to the wrong place. Shaw had the opportunity to be that kind of store and said no thank you. He is as business savvy as he is shoe smart.
So how has he been able to master this market?
For one, orthotics is a virtually untapped market in this area. There are plenty of doctors in Tallahassee, but to work in that area takes a specialty. In that respect, Shaw has virtually cornered the market.
And if you are having issues with your feet you don’t want to get any pair of shoes, you go see the subject matter expert. Shaw is that expert. “Honda makes a good car, you go there for a car…” When you are the best in your field and have no real competition it’s just facts, not egotistical.
He also knows how his competition operates.
They have the upper hand when it comes to things like sports apparel. You don’t need an expert opinion on the shirt and shorts of the day. They can order 1000 units of apparel and if it doesn’t sell it goes back. If Shaw orders 1000 units of a product and no one buys it, he “eats it.”
Therein lies the down side of not operating under a corporate office; whereas he doesn’t have a corporate office to worry about, just his wife.
His wife and partner, Patti, an athlete in her our right, runs the financial side of the business and keeps Shaw focused.
Where he beats the competition hands down is “product knowledge and the willingness and ability to use it.” The competitors spend six weeks training with only 2-3 days spent on the product and the rest is sales and management skills.
At Shaw’s, associates spend 2 -3 months assimilating their knowledge before they speak to a customer. And even then they are carefully watched. It’s all about the clientele. With all of the mass market shoe stores available, anyone can sell you a pair of shoes that you WANT. Shaw is going to put you in the pair of shoes you NEED.