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NSRA Retailer of the Year
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Since 2009, the Retailer of the Year award is presented to NSRA members who, as the owner or co-owner of a footwear retailing business, has demonstrated business vision, principled leadership, and service to NSRA.


2019 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Molly & David   

The Jacksons’ retail portfolio includes five stores in Florida: New Balance Sarasota, New Balance University Park, Fleet Feet Sarasota, and two Molly's boutiques that offer shoes, handbags, jewelry and gifts.

The Jacksons have received many honors, including being named “Best Shoe Store in Sarasota” for their New Balance operations and “Best Gift Store” for Molly's, as well as being the first recipients of New Balance's Chairman's Award. Molly was the first female chair of the New Balance Corporate Store Advisory Board, and a member of the Gulf Coast CEO Forums Board of Directors. David Jackson is a certified pedorthist, sharing his knowledge via Shoe U, a six-week training program he created to teach employees about feet and customer service. They are also active in helping local non-profit groups.

In accepting the award on the Jacksons’ behalf, Joe Wright (Vernon Powell Shoe Company, Salisbury, MD) delivered a personal message from David that read, “Molly and I cannot thank all of you enough for the love and support you have provided us and given us over the past 17 years. You all know one of the great reasons why our organization is so successful is due to the support we give each other and the best practices we share with each other even though we are competitors! We are blessed to call each of you our friends! It is with true sincerity we love each and every one of you. And wish we were here to except this award in person. Thank you again and we will see you all down the road!”

2018 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

 Jim Wellehan

Wellehan, whose six Lamey Wellehan (LW) shoe stores are in Maine, is a second-generation retailer; the company was founded by Wellehan's father Dan (Wellehan) and uncle Charlie Lamey in 1914. Wellehan himself entered shoe retailing as a teenager, working part-time in high school and college. After a teaching stint in Africa, he worked full-time in his father's store before fulfilling a service obligation in the U.S. Army; later, he earned a master's in business administration before returning to LW. Wellehan ran the business until retirement in January 2018, when he was succeeded by Don Stowell, who continues to tap Wellehan's knowledge as a consultant.

Wellehan, accepting, said, “Our culture is that people should be treated kindly and respectfully. When everyone around has high expectations, that culture spreads easily. Much of the success Lamey Wellehan has achieved [is due to] the long-time and knowledgeable, committed work of its associates, from the first day in 1914. Although the retail game changes over 50 years, our business is strong and our crews are happy.” Wellehan is now working with president/men's buyer Don Stowell and senior managers Chris Stanley, Erica Dube, Ben Fletcher, Lucie Hill, and Scott Heidrich to create an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. “We believe an ESOP will help keep this company strong in the future. I love this business – and I am humbled and honored to receive this Award.”

2017 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Ed Habre 

Habre is president of Shoe Mill, a seven-store chain of comfort footwear stores located in Oregon. The company's presentation of unique quality footwear from around the world, is illustrated by Shoe Mill's slogan: “We Put the World at Your Feet!” The family-owned and -managed business operates under high standards and continues to grow during a period of declining retailers and a movement of volume from retail locations to the internet. Shoe Mill has also ventured into the e-commerce arena by developing and continuously updating a full functioning website. Ed has recognized the necessity of a business to plan for the future, so he has developed his next generation and has educated, trained, tested, and managed them all well. He and Shoe Mill’s next set of leaders have been highly involved in the NSRA NextGen program, which focuses on successfully bringing new generations in a family into the retailing business.

While accepting the award, Ed Habre was quick to point out that this award is one that will be shared by the entire Shoe Mill company, saying: “What we are honored for is the result of a dedicated team of co-workers that puts a premium on meeting the footwear needs of our valued clientele. Knowing that it is always about the best footwear experience possible, my son Josh Habre, Vice President of Sales and Merchandising expresses it this way – We have a consistent theme, which is all about what’s going on under the foot. Our aim is to wrap each foot in an attractive package that is incredibly comfortable… our theme is and will always be making your feet feel great, while you feel great about wearing your footwear.’’

2016 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Mark Denkler  
Denkler, who owns Vince Canning Shoes in Delray Beach, Florida, with his wife LaRonda, is a third-generation retailer; his grandfather opened the store in 1952, and the Denklers purchased it from his uncle in 1994. In 2015, Denkler bought a second store, Tootsies, which first opened in 2006. The Denklers have quadrupled Vince Canning sales during their 22 years of ownership. During the past year, they significantly increased comparable sales at Tootsies by over half.

In accepting the award, Denkler stated “It is truly an honor to be held in such high esteem by an outstanding organization and group of retailing peers. The success could not have been achieved without my wife and business partner, an outstanding staff, great vendor partners, and the peer mentoring from NSRA members.

2015 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Alan Miklofsky  

Miklofsky, who has been in the shoe industry since 1977, owns and operates five stores in Tucson, AZ under the banners Alan's Shoe House and New Balance Tucson (which employ 50 people). As the first individual to register "” in 1994, Miklofsky has been at the forefront of internet shoe retailing. His footwear experience also includes a stint as vice president of The Walking Company, and as president of Oasis Comfort, then the U.S. distributor of Beautifeel.

In accepting the award, Miklofsky thanked his wife Annette for working beside him all these years, as well as thanking his fellow NSRA independent retailers as role models in business.

2014 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Randy Brown

Brown is President of Brown’s Enterprises, a company with more than 80 employees, and eight stores: Brown’s Shoe Center, four New Balance St. Louis locations, New Balance Kansas City, New Balance Branson, and The business is headquartered in Washington, Missouri. Brown’s wife and co-owner, Margit, serves as company vice president of operations, and their sons Chad and Kurt are members of the management team with Chad managing Metro Orthotics, their medical marketing division, and Kurt serving as the company’s vice president of sales.

Margit Brown spoke on behalf of the family, saying "Through it all we recognize our good fortune to have the friendships we’ve found – networking and learning together, have brought a genuine joy to our lives. "Our family not only celebrates Randy, but we also celebrate the friendships made possible through NSRA, so thank you friends.” Randy humbly accepted the award, but accredited his family as being the deserving recipients.

2013 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Jim Sajdak  

Stan's Fit for Your Feet, established in 1950, and New Balance Milwaukee is a five-location business headquartered in Brookfield, WI. Owner, Jim Sajdak, joined the company founded by his grandfather and father during the 1970s, and served as vice president for 16 years before becoming president and CEO in 1989. Under his leadership, Stan's Fit for Your Feet expanded from one store to its current multiple locations.

In accepting this award, Sajdak himself noted that his grandfather was a tanner and shoemaker and that following his father into retailing taught him many lessons. He also expressed gratitude that his children have elected to enter in the family business, adding, "It's humbling to receive this award, I thank you."

2012 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Phil Wright  

Vernon Powell Shoes, established in 1936 by the late Vernon H. Powell, is family-owned-and-operated with locations in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

In accepting this award, Phil Wright acknowledged that footwear retailing has changed since he joined his grandfather in the business more than four decades ago, and that learning from his peers and friends within this organization has been invaluable to their success. Among networking, NSRA services and events, Wright also includes his son Joe as being instrumental to his company's growth.

2011 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Maurice Breton  

Comfort One Shoes, founded July of 1993 in Old Town Alexandria, is a locally owned, family business that started with one location and has grown to include locations in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

In accepting this award, Maurice Breton acknowledged that he came out of corporate America to enter independent footwear retailing and has learned a great deal from NSRA and fellow members. Although Breton has given a lot, in terms of service to NSRA, he said the organization gave him back more because when you network with other retailers, you learn, and they teach you how to become the best.


2010 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

Tom Luck  

Lucky Shoes, founded in 1919, is a family business with multiple locations in Ohio. Luck got his start in the family business at the age of 5, "helping out" in his father's store. Tom's son, John, is now the fourth generation Luck in the business.

In accepting this award, Luck acknowledged and thanked his family and employees for their consistent support and enthusiasm for working at Lucky Shoes and its multiple businesses. Luck cited that they haven’t changed their core business, great service and great value on the best products available, and that the company has survived because of the talented people he has had the privilege of working with.

In addition, Luck said his business has survived and prospered because they keep reinventing themselves before they need to – looking forward, and adjusting to their customers’ needs and expectations.


2009 Retailer of the Year (read full press release)

John Schuler  

Schuler Shoes began in 1889 under Vincent Schuler and is the oldest family-owned shoe store west of the Mississippi. The business is in its fourth generation today and operates with multiple locations in Minnesota.

In honor of this award, Schuler Shoes is recognized for many strengths including great customer service, key brand offerings, strategic locations, advantageous partnerships and a focus on comfort. As an individual, Schuler is considered an inspiration to his peers and looked upon as always having a vision for his business and being sure to execute it.

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