Festive footwear at Smith’s
If you are planning to get new shoes for yourself or a voucher for someone you love this holiday season, then a trip to Smith’s Footwear, Main Street, Cavan is an essential port of call.
In the ownership of the Smith family since 1972, the retail outlet continues a tradition of customer-focused service since it was first established by Peter Mullen in 1936. That dedication to customers has continued over the last two challenging years.
Stocking a large range of quality footwear from brands like Rieker to Start Rite children’s shoes, John Smith says 2021 has been a mixed bag. “When we opened up it was good. People had been locked up for so long there was a pent up demand,” he tells of the experience as a retailer in that time.
The reopening of what were deemed ‘non essential’ retailers in May was a landmark time for the Cavan Town shop. “There was a spending splurge when we reopened. That was particularly true for ladies and children’s shoes. The emphasis was on fashion and comfort. People were home for so long that, when they had a chance to get out, try things on and engage in the ‘retail experience’ there was a good sell through,” John explains.
He finds things have balanced out and described business as being “steady”, with the caveat that there are many external factor influencing customer behaviour: “I am anticipating a steady Christmas. If people are allowed out to shop, they will spend local. I don’t think people will be attracted to big, busy shopping centres. At the moment crowded environments are not that attractive to most customers.
“People want to shop where they are comfortable. In Cavan all our retailers are doing a very good job. We are cleaning down, we have masks, we have doors open to let air circulate, we are doing everything we can to make people feel comfortable when they come into our shops,” he says of the efforts of the local business community.
During lockdown John grew one aspect of his business. “I was lucky that I started the online trade in the safety business,” he explained of his website www.workboots.ie. The site has grown in popularity during the pandemic offering a wide variety of men’s, women’s and children’s work boots.
“It has proved very popular with farmers, construction workers and anyone who needs particular safety wear. We do a range of sizes for both ladies and gents. The internet is not a retail platform for everyone, it is very demanding on your time, but it can be a very effective tool. I don’t sell fashion footwear online, but the safety wear goes very well,” he informs.
John sent out season’s greetings to all his customers: “I want to thank all our clients for their support through theses difficult Covid times. We are delighted to see all our patrons back in Cavan Town, shopping local.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the team for their hard work and commitment over this past year. I wish everyone in Cavan a very merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous and happy New Year.”