Upscale shoe store opens in Dunwoody

Ninety-year-old Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation prides itself on two things: At a time when most shoe manufacturing has gone overseas, it remains an American footwear manufacturer; and using a 212-step process, it takes “shoemaking to the level of an art form.”

Wisconsin-based Allen Edmonds recently opened its only Georgia store in Dunwoody.
“We are delighted to open our first store in Atlanta,” President and CEO Paul Grangaard said in a statement announcing the store opening. “The Allen Edmonds offering is a perfect fit for the men of this area.”
Store Manager Lupe Sandoval said the company had been looking for a location in the Perimeter Mall area for a couple of years. “We were at first concerned that customers might not see the store from the street,” he said of the location at Park Place Shopping Center, across from Perimeter Mall on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, “but the signage is good and customers haven’t had a problem finding us.”

The Allen Edmonds brand is already widely known and has enthusiasts throughout Georgia, according to Sandoval, who said customers have been coming from such areas as Peachtree City an hour away. He added that a customer had come recently from Savannah to shop there.
Sandoval said approximately 70 percent of the customers coming to the new Dunwoody store already are Allen Edmonds customers who order online or buy the company’s products that are offered in upscale department stores. The new store carries Allen Edmonds’ full line.
The shoes, according to Allen Edmonds’ literature, since 1922 “have appealed to men from all walks of life, including U.S. presidents, international dignitaries, business executives and celebrities.”
“Only 1.4 percent of the shoes worn in America were made in America,” Sandoval said. “Customers tell us that they like walking around in American-made shoes.”
The company does have a line of Italian shoes that it began offering in response to customer requests. “Italian shoes were the rage worldwide for a while,” Sandoval explained, “but that is changing. The demand for American shoes is growing globally. We’re opening our first store in Asia this year.”
Describing Allen Edmonds’ market niche as “entry point luxury,” Sandoval said shoe prices start at approximately $300 a pair. “That’s really a good value when you consider that these shoes will last 10 years or more compared to shoes that will last six months to a year. You can pay a lot more and get a lot less.”
Sandoval said the company has continued to grow even in an uncertain economy.
“At a time when other companies were letting people go, we hired 100 more since 2010. I think people value quality in a tight economy.”
Allen Edmonds offers what it calls “recrafting” to restore old shoes to “new-like condition.”
“We had a man come in recently with a pair of shoes that had belonged to his father,” Sandoval said. He said the facility at the company’s home office in Wisconsin not only was able to restore the shoes, but adjusted them to fit the son’s wider feet.”
In addition to offering shoes from classic dress models to “weekend” shoes and boots, Allen Edmonds also offers clothing items and such men’s haberdashery items as ties, belts and caps as well as accessories such as shoe racks, shoe trees and belt racks.

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