Working Today: Brown's Shoe Fit manager helps customers get off on the right foot

Carson Smith, owner and manager of Brown’s Shoe Fit in Warrensburg, helps his customers find the best fitting shoe for their specific foot.

Owner and Manager of Brown’s Shoe Fit in Warrensburg Carson Smith and his staff can identify the problem with a customer’s movements and help correct it with the right shoe.

“We observe how a customer may be walking, their gait, their natural movement,” Smith said.

Smith said there are certain types of shoes that are good for a specific person’s foot and their movement while there are certain types that won’t be so good.

“Sometimes people can’t help the way they walk, but a shoe is there to help recorrect their gait,” Smith said.

Smith held positions as a training trainee at locations in Topeka, Kansas and Dubuque, Iowa, before moving to Warrensburg when he received a job offer to be the manager of the Brown’s Shoe Fit in Warrensburg about two years ago.

Smith said he wants to make people feel comfortable when they walk in, which means avoiding being too pushy.

“As a sales staff, we’re not pushy, we want people to know we’re here to help rather than try to shove shoes down their throat or be that in-your-face salesman,” Smith said. “Our ultimate goal is to help our customers.”

What would surprise people most to learn about your job?

“We are a sit-and-fit shoe store, so people come to us with specific needs or specific wants, with foot, hip, lower back or knee problems, so that’s primarily what we do. We also do some ladies fashion, mens casual, running, walking, work boots — pretty much everything.”

What’s the most common question you get about what you do?

“‘Do you like working with feet?’ That’s a pretty typical question and, ‘What’s the best shoe for my foot?’ How I respond to that is everybody has their own specific gait, the way that they move. Everybody’s foot is shaped differently, based on the heel, based on the forefoot, so every person is a very specific customer. Whatever they come in asking for, we try to help with that specific issue, problem or need.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

“For me, I own and manage, so maybe time. I’m here six days a week, open to close everyday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I’m typically here an hour and a half before and 45 minutes after so you’re talking 13 hour days, five days a week and then probably 12 or 11 hour days on Saturdays. So it’s mainly the time as an owner. But it doesn’t bother me because I get to help people on a daily basis. That’s primarily why I enjoy what I do.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?

“People coming back and having that personal interaction and having people know who I am or know who my staff is. I do all my training with my staff. One of the most rewarding things that I get is when one of my staff helps somebody and they either call me or come back in and ask to be waited on by that person because they had that great experience within our store. We do offer more of an experience than just a shoe store. We’re that friendly face that people enjoy coming in to see.”

Would 10-year-old you be surprised that you are in this position or field?

“Yeah, for sure. I never thought I would be a business owner. I was kind of shy at the beginning, but I enjoy helping people, which I’ve always wanted to do. But I kind of found a different niche within it.”

What advice would you give someone starting a job similar to yours?

“Keep your nose to the grindstone. There are long hours, but it’s very rewarding.”

Staff Writer Dustin Steinhoff can be reached by emailing dustin.steinhoff@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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