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Tradehome Shoes Opens

A family shoe store at Briarwood

by Sabine Bickford

From the November, 2019 issue

Tradehome Shoes has opened across the hall from U4hope (see above) in Briarwood mall. "We're a family shoe store that specializes in carrying everything from Filas [streetwear sneakers] ... to high-end work boots and Doc Martens and track shoes and trainers," says manager Adam Kabe.

Kabe says Tradehome's employees take detailed foot measurements for each customer and will clean or repair customers' shoes free of charge (he ducked down to spray my dingy white sneakers within a minute of meeting me). "We do services here and not just stocking and clerking," he says. "That sets us apart from most retail chains."

The Minnesota-based chain's ownership structure is another unlikely characteristic for a primarily mall-based shoe store with more than 100 locations. "It's called an Employee Stock Ownership Plan," says Kabe. Tradehome (originally established in 1921) became 100 percent employee-owned in 2014, when the then-owners sold their shares to an ESOP established on behalf of Tradehome's employees.

"So essentially, while we're a national company, we are local, because anyone who works here full-time is an owner of our company," says Kabe. In fact, his business card says "owner/manager."

Kabe says that each Tradehome store has between 600 and 700 shoe styles available, in a large range of prices and functions.

"We cater to all price ranges, and we treat everyone the same way," he says. "If a single mom walks in with a budget of $50 for her two kids, she's going to find shoes that work for her. If her boss who drives a Lamborghini comes in he--or she--will find some shoes too."

When he sees a pair of shoes with backs damaged from being slipped on without untying the laces, he has two solutions: an inexpensive set of no-tie "lock laces," and a pricey pair of shoes (one of the most expensive in the store) whose backs are designed to come back up around your heel when you walk.

Tradehome Shoes, 100 Briarwood Cir. (Briarwood mall). (734) 913-5948. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.     (end of article)

[Originally published in November, 2019.]


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