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Wednesday, November 19, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: NSRA
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TUCSON, AZ (November 18, 2014) - The National Shoe Retailers Association named Drydock Footwear Group and Earth, Inc. its Vendors of the Year during the Association's annual leadership conference held Nov. 6-7, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida.

"Vendors of the Year are companies held in high esteem by independent retailers, both for the integrity of their business practices and for their long-term commitment to the independent retail channel of distribution,” said NSRA president Chuck Schuyler. "It is with great pleasure that NSRA salutes both Drydock and Earth – they're great to do business with, and their employees are some of the most dedicated in the industry.”

In presenting the Award to Earth, NSRA chairman Rick Ravel (Karavel Shoes, Austin, TX), acknowledged Earth as a staple line in independent shoe stores, where sales associates welcome opportunities to discuss Earth features. Accepting on behalf Earth, president Gary Champion said, "It’s amazing, starting a new brand and having NSRA retailers accept it. It isn’t just about making great product, it’s about having great people and relationships. I appreciate it, and to many more years of success for all of us – thank you.”

In presenting the Award to Drydock, NSRA Past Chairman Phil Wright (Vernon Powell Shoes, Salisbury, MD), noted, "[Drydock president] Bob Infantino believes brands are built in the independent channel. He and his team have been key supporters of NSRA.” In accepting, Infantino recalled learning the shoe business from his mentor Ted Altier, a member of NSRA's Hall of Fame, who told Infantino he would need to decide whether he wanted to be "a person who does things, or a person who talks about other people doing things.” "I knew – a person who does things. I learned everything I had to know in this business in shoe stores. It’s all about the customer; it’s all about what you do every day. [Our brand] is just an idea until you take it from us and bring it to your consumer. It’s a great independent base that makes great brands. Thanks very much.”

"NSRA's partnerships with our Vendor Sponsors, notably including Drydock and Earth, have enabled NSRA to produce some of the finest retailer education programs imaginable,” said Schuyler. "Without the support of vendors, we would not be the leading retailer organization in the industry. So this opportunity to publicly thank two companies so important to NSRA members is a wonderful event. I'd like to add that both Gary Champion and Bob Infantino lead by example, and their teams respect independents as partners in both product feedback and company success.”

NSRA was founded in 1912 to represent independent shoe retailers and provide their companies with business services, education programs and information resources that help them remain profitable and at the leading edge of retail. For more information, please visit

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