In 2005, retired high school principal Serena Robb took an unexpected next step and opened her own shop, called Shoe, in Reno, Nev.
Not long after the 865-sq.-ft. store opened, Robb started talking with the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort and decided to bow a second store in that area. The Northstar boutique officially launched in November 2006.
Shoe offers an eclectic range of styles for women, men and children. Robb said she is open to new vendors and has a buying strategy that is focused on testing big-city fashion in her small-town locations.
“People will come into my store and look around and say, ‘I just don’t need anything,’ and if I feel they have a sense of humor, I’ll say, ‘There’s nothing in the store anyone needs, but hopefully there are a lot of things you want,’” said Robb. “That’s what my store is all about.”
Faryl Robin Morse, president and founder of New York-based Farylrobin, speaks highly of Shoe and Robb. “We’ve been working with Serena for nearly five years, [and] she has been one of our most consistently supportive retailers,” Morse said. “We love her eclectic mix of product, her great merchandising approach and that she serves our customer really well. Serena’s store attracts a fashionable woman who is seeking fresh, bold designs that help her be her best. It fits perfectly with the customer we design for.”
Maxwell Harrell, president of San Francisco-based Corso Como, has been working with Shoe since Robb picked up the brand in 2007 and said Robb’s attention to detail makes her store a standout. “She really concentrates on presenting footwear as a work of art. [The store] sparks your curiosity and looks like an art gallery showing great designs,” Harrell said. “Serena is the store’s biggest asset [and] really brings that personal touch. She takes the time to look at every shoe, and she knows her customer well.”
Excerpted from Footwear News, Issue 02/01/2010, by Emma Leighton: http://www.wwd.com/footwear-news/markets/retail-profile-shoe-of-lake-tahoe-2442584