Editorial: Bootery has partners walking on sunshine

Apr 20, 2017

Only one thing is certain in the retail industry: Change. The only businesses that survive are those that change with the times, adapting to evolving tastes and trends while staying true to essential quality and service. P.W. Minor and Charles Men’s Shop individually are survivors. Together, they are contenders.

With 220 years of combined business experience, the two have partnered to open what they envision as a destination shopping experience in a downtown primed for growth. The former Chamber of Commerce space on Main Street, Batavia, has been transformed into the Batavia Bootery, a thoroughly modern shop where customers can indulge in the old-fashioned experience of being measured and fit for shoes and boots.

“We really want people to have their foot measured and get fit properly,” said Dave Howe, owner of Charles Men’s Shop. “I think that’s part of where the satisfaction comes from – to have it fit right, to feel right.” It is that philosophy of paying attention to fit and feel that has made Charles Men’s shop a destination for people seeking quality and comfort. For Mr. Howe, The Bootery enables Charles Men’s Shop to fully outfit a customer – suit, shirt, tie, and now, shoes.

For P.W. Minor, The Bootery represents a next step, so to speak, from the trial pop-up shop that owners Pete Zeliff Sr. and Andrew Young opened just down the street two years ago. The two purchased a historic shoe manufacturer on the brink of failure in 2014, determined to not only keep it alive but also to revive it. They brought production home to Batavia from foreign nations, and paid attention to the needs and wants of today’s customers. Everyone needs shoes and boots. It’s a matter of offering people a product that makes them feel good, physically, financially and philosophically. P.W. Minor offers American-made – even better, hometown-made – shoes and boots that are stylish, durable and wearable.

It is a nice touch that many of the products offered by Batavia Bootery are named for GLOW counties. They include footwear appropriate for everyone from construction workers and farmers to businessmen and businesswomen who need a good-looking shoe that completes their look while they complete their deal. All of P.W Minor’s lines are offered at The Bootery, along with other brands chosen for quality of construction, comfort and support.

“It’s a proud partnership,” Mr. Howe said. “This is a wonderful example going forward of what can be done in America and by American workers. We’re just a tiny part of what P.W. Minor is doing, but we’re proud to work with them in bringing back American products.”

Charles Men’s Shop is 70 years old, and P.W. Minor is marking 150 years this year. Individually, they have adapted to survive and even thrive. They are betting that together they thrive giving people something they can’t get anywhere else — an experience they can walk home with.