Last year, in the depths of the Great Recession, we came up with the idea of a promotional discount on our Recrafting services so that our loyal customers would have the chance to keep their favorite shoes in great shape, at a discounted price. We knew many customers were postponing buying new shoes until the economy improved and we wanted to help. We also wanted to keep our people occupied and to avoid further layoffs.
The results were astounding – we were inundated with shoes, so many in fact that the local U.S. Post Office in Port Washington called to ask, “What are you guys doing there?!” They wanted us to come see the boxes piled up on their dock. We ended up receiving about 8,000 pairs in three weeks. It took us about 6 weeks to catch up to the onslaught.
This year, we decided to do it again, but we expected reduced demand with the economy improving and sales of new shoes recovering. We were wrong. We’ve taken in well over 16,000 pair this year. While we’ve added to our Recrafting staffing to handle increased demand, we’re still going to need a few weeks to catch up again. Our apologies to those who hoped to receive their shoes back in the normal timeframe.
Here’s a picture of our Recrafting team surrounded by a fraction of the shoes that have been sent. John Bittner in the center heads the team and does a great job. He has spent his whole career in shoemaking at Allen Edmonds. Recrafting involves some different skills than are required to make new shoes, so we have this team dedicated to nothing else.
We’ll recraft some 50-60,000 pairs of Allen Edmonds shoes this year. Some of the shoes we’ll do are 30 or 40 years old and still in great shape. It’s like a walk through the archives to see these shoes come in for Recrafting, which is especially fun for our longer tenured employees and a real pride-builder for all of us at Allen Edmonds.
Paul D. Grangaard
President & CEO
Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation