PICTURED: JoAnne Hadley snuggles Carwash, owned by customer Kieron Barry, at Birkenstock Footprints of Ventura. Photo submitted
by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer
Birkenstock Footprints of Ventura
518 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura
Are you from Ventura County originally?
I was born in the Caribbean on the island of Antigua. I came here when I was 7 years old.
When did you open your business?
I purchased Birkenstock in 1997 from the previous owner. The business has been in the same location in Downtown Ventura for over 42 years.
What inspired you to start this business?
I was inspired by my orthopedic surgeon to buy a pair of Birkenstocks after I had back surgery. I had sciatic pain and was in constant discomfort when I was advised to purchase a pair of Birkenstocks. After wearing them for two weeks the sciatic pain started to subside, and I have been the biggest fan ever since, and a proud owner for over 22 years.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I open at 10:30 a.m. and work until 5:30 p.m. or thereafter. I own and operate my business with no employees. All duties to own and operate a Birkenstock brand name shoe store I do with lust and glee. I absolutely love what I do, and hope I exemplify it in my customer service. We are a full-service store selling Birkenstock sandals , shoes, socks, orthopedic insoles and VionicⓇ shoes. We also offer a full repair service.
What are your biggest challenges and rewards?
The most challenging aspect of what I do is the current situation that we are experiencing as a nation. The slow delivery of our product due to COVID-19. As a company we have managed to keep things flowing, just at a slower pace.
The most rewarding aspect of my business is helping customers with many foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, heel pain, hammer toes and circulation problems. Birkenstock sandals are an orthopedic footwear that offers multiple arches throughout the footbed. Our cork footbeds have built-in metatarsal, medial, lateral and transverse arches along with a toe bar for easy gripping and circulation.
Where do you see things going with your business in the future?
God willing, I will still be here 5-10 years down the road selling and educating the next generation about the Birkenstock legacy.