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2015 NSRA Hall of Fame
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Presented on November 20, 2015 during NSRA's Annual Leadership Conference, held in Charleston, SC. (Read full press release)

Wayne Muller
Muller's Shoes - Grand Rapids, MI
1983-85, Chairman of NSRA Board of Directors

Muller, a third generation footwear retailer, initially joined his father in the shoe business in the 1950s after graduating with a degree in business from University of Michigan and serving as an officer in the National Guard. They expanded the business to four locations, and welcomed Muller's brother Paul into the business with them. In 1972, as Muller's Family Shoe Stores' retail success grew, Wayne Muller was elected to NSRA's Board of Directors, serving on nearly every committee and eventually chairing four of them. He was elected vice chairman of the Board and then, in 1982, chairman; during his two terms as chairman, he spearheaded NSRA's efforts to assist independent footwear retailers in handling inventory by computer. He also led development of NSRA's Professional Selling manual and, working with then-executive director/NSRA president Bill Boettge, Muller and the Board increased NSRA's membership more than 300 percent.

(Paul Muller, Cynthia Muller, Wayne Muller)

In 1992, Muller "retired” from the shoe business, selling his holdings to Paul, who continued the business their grandfather started in 1913. Shortly thereafter, Wayne Muller bowed to requests from a variety of retailers and footwear manufacturers to provide them with consulting services. Although he focused most of his efforts on Grand Rapids – where he founded the Family Business Alliance, which today has 147 family-owned businesses as members, and helps them transition from one generation to the next – Muller continued to volunteer on behalf of NSRA. In 1997, he helped initiate NSRA's "When the Shoe Fits: The Basics of Professional Shoe Fitting” program (WSF), a half-day course that taught more than 5,000 sales associates to understand customers' footwear needs based on their worn shoes, to measure both feet and compensate for differences between the left and right ones, and to fit shoes properly and explain shoe characteristics to information-hungry customers. WSF students returned to the sales floor with increased abilities, greater product knowledge, higher customer service skills and improved career potential. The course was supplemented by a 126-page textbook that enabled attendees to review their hands-on lessons and begin to demonstrate them as mentors to other sales associates.


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