|Ron W. Scott
Retail Strategies, LLC - Ridgeland, MS
1993-95, Chairman of Board of Directors
Ron W. Scott, who founded Gentlemen's Jodhpur in 1971 in Washington,
D.C.'s trendy Georgetown, ran the men's luxe shoes,
clothing and accessories company for 40 years. To please his customers, Scott
also became a shoe designer, maker and importer, working primarily with
factories in Italy and Spain to create
the finest leather shoes imaginable. He entered the footwear business at the
age of 15, working first for G.R. Kinney Shoes, where he discovered he had a
gift for selling shoes. After a stint at the Air Force Academy, Scott went
back to Kinney, managing several stores from 1961-63.
Next he accepted a
position as a manager at The Hecht Company, then one of Washington's most popular department stores.
From there he moved to District Red Cross Shoes, where he served as a district
manager with stores along the East Coast from Baltimore
to St. Petersburg.
He rose to vice president, bought into the business and became a co-owner,
eventually adding to the company several Scott's Shoes stores, which carried
both men's and women's shoes. Looking for a change of pace and less time on the
road, Scott sold his interest back to his then-partner, and went out on his
own, starting with a 168-square-feet lease
in a women's shoe store called Dominique, where Scott sold men's shoes.
He was so successful that Gentlemen's Jodhpur
was elected to NSRA's Board of Directors in the 1978; in 1976, he was honored
as NSRA's Retailer of the Year. From 1993-95, he served as Chairman of NSRA's
Board of Directors, and helped launch the educational conferences and
programming that NSRA is recognized for today. In 2010, Scott left retailing in
favor of consulting; he is currently president of Retail Strategies, LLC, which
provides strategic and development advice to businesses in the areas of design,
product development, retailing and wholesaling.
Reyers Shoe Store - Sharon, PA
Former NSRA Board of Director
Harry L. Jubelirer was born
to a family that owned shoe stores in Homestead,
Pennsylvania and Morgantown, West Virginia.
A 1941 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Jubelirer served in the U.S. Army during
World War II.
After the war, Jubelirer purchased Reyers Shoe Store in Sharon,
Pennsylvania; Reyers, at the time, was one of
six shoe stores in downtown Sharon,
each of which specialized in one customer demographic rather than competing
with each other. Reyers, which had opened in 1886, catered to women with narrow
feet. Founder John Reyer was succeeded by son Carl, whose children were notinterested in the business. He knew the Jubelirer family of Pittsburgh, and eldest son Harry bought the
store in 1953.
By 1986, Jubelirer had moved into a new 36,000-square-foot
location with a huge parking lot, easy access, a staff of talented shoe
fitters, and an inventory of more than 100,000 pairs of shoes. Jubelirer and
his company were featured in Footwear News, which named Reyers one of
the "World's Best Shoe Stores,” and other trade publications, as well as in
including Time Magazine and television's "The David Letterman Show” and
"On The Road with Charles Kuralt.”
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He served as a member of NSRA's Board of
Directors, was a board member for the Sharon Chamber of Commerce, and was
active in charitable work with "Shoe Our Children” Foundation, United Way, various
animal charities, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Temple Beth Israel in Sharon. Jubelirer brought
his sons Mark B. and Steven W. into the business, which they now lead; they
also orchestrated its 125th anniversary celebration.
Founder, Birkenstock USA - San Rafael, CA
Margot Fraser, founder
of Birkenstock USA,
first tried on a pair of the sandals while visiting a Bavarian spa, and
discovered that the contoured footbed relieved pain in her toes. Born in Berlin, Fraser attended
school to learn dress-making. But as Hitler began to rise to power, Fraser's
father decided to move his family. She gave up custom dress-making in favor of designing and pattern
making at a Canadian clothing manufacturer. In the 1990s, Fraser and her
husband had settled near San Francisco;
because they had developed an interest in natural health, they made plans to
tour German health spas and meet with manufacturers of supplements and
vitamins. Fraser had developed some foot problems during the war, because good
shoes were difficult to find; after two months in Birkenstock sandals, Fraser's
foot problems disappeared; she was a convert, and decided to bring the shoes to
At first, shoe stores in the U.S.
were not interested in Birkenstocks, so Fraser took them to health-food stores,
which began to find the footwear a following.
By 1973, shoe stores were coming
to Fraser, asking for product. She convinced the company owner to add color and
Birkenstocks took off. From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, sales doubled
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In the mid-1990s, Fraser began offering employees shares in the
business, instead of pension plan contributions. Eventually, employees owned
40% of Birkenstock USA;
in 2002, Fraser sold the remainder of the stock to the employees, and retired
as company CEO, although she agreed to stay on temporarily as chairman of the
Board. In 2007, the original German Birkenstock bought Birkenstock USA from the
employees' trust. Fraser, who turned 80 in 2014, still wears Birkenstocks – and
millions of Americans are grateful that she introduced them to the iconic