When you step into the new Batavia Bootery, the experience will be top rate and you will find only quality shoes in stock, say proprietors David Howe and Don Brown.
The new shoe store at 210 E. Main St. is a joint venture between Charles Men's Shop (the establishment of Howe and Brown) and local shoe factory P.W. Minor.
The store's grand opening is this evening from 6:30 to 8.
"Quite frankly, P.W. Minor was looking to have a strong presence in their own community," Howe said. "I think Mr. Zeliff (Pete Zeliff, owner of P.W. Minor) has really made a strong commitment to the community and he wanted to make a commitment to Downtown. As proprietors of Charles Men's Shop, Don and I like anything that is going to help Downtown businesses."
Howe expects the new shoe store to draw on and expand the customer base of the 70-year-old clothing store, which Howe said has a strong local following, but also draws customers from Buffalo and Rochester.
But with limited space, Charles Men's Shop wasn't able to sell shoes to its customers.
"I think a good shoe store has been sorely lacking in Downtown," Howe said. "When Pete approaches us, I said I can't tell you the number of times people have come in to buy a new suit, whether they have a new job, are going to a job interview, a funeral or a wedding, and when we've finished packing the new jacket, shirt and tie, they say, 'I need a pair of shoes.' "
Now those customers will be taken to Batavia Bootery, Howe said. There, both men and women will find a complete line of high quality, long-lasting, comfortable shoes sold by a knowledgeable, friendly staff. While featuring shoes from P.W. Minor, other companies shoes will also be available, to offer a price range from moderate to higher end, but all shoes from other lines are selected for their quality, comfort and foot health benefits.
"Our customer service is second to none," Brown said. "We're professionals. We got to all the big shows. You're not getting that kind of service in a mall or a big box store. The knowledge, you can't get that from a bunch of stars left by Millennials online."
Batavia Bootery will be the flagship store for p.w. minor, carrying every shoe the 150-year-old local manufacturer carries, including the new Abrams Boots line and the Batavia Boot and Shoe collection, both high-quality brands for the stylish dresser.
The store will also carry the same quality, orthopedic shoes that has made P.W. Minor famous, but in styles that have been upgraded to more attractive and fashionable designs since Zeliff took over the company and saved it from near closure.
Since Zeliff has taken over, he's moved production back to the United States from China and continues to hire more workers and ramp up production as the sales staff finds new customers across the country.
The craftsmanship of P.W. Minor shoes is really impressive, Howe said. They are made to last a lifetime.
"This is a wonderful example going forward of what can be done in America by American workers," Howe said. "I think that’s really cool. Although we’re just a tiny part of what P.W. Minor is doing. We’re really proud to be associated with them and what they’re doing to bring back American workers and American products."