Ever since they purchased Bob’s Shoes seven months ago Jackie Austin and Julie Vincent have enjoyed mixing the old with the new.
The two friends relish the fact the business was established in 1954 by Bob Jackson and has a long history providing quality footwear and clothing.
Staying true to the store’s roots, Austin and Vincent are continuing to carry reliable brands, such as Redwing work boots and Carhartt clothing for men, women and children, along with Bogs, Birkenstock and Blundstone to name a few.
And in the spirit of trying new things, they have introduced high-end Zamberlan hiking boots and elite hunting gear made by Sitka.
“We want there to be something for everyone,” Vincent said. “We have every day Kavu casual wear and have 22 styles of Timberland boots for ladies arriving soon for the fall.”
Vincent has had fun pouring some of her creativity into the store, using things like repurposed wood from a friend’s corral to redecorate.
Signs made with letters burned into wooden boards advertise the different brands in the store, while wood cut from a recent windfall tree displays boots and shoes all along the back wall.
Their business recently qualified for the city’s facade improvement program, which will augment the fresh paint job Vincent and her daughter Angela gave the store’s exterior.
The two say the decision to purchase the business from Sue and Dan Colgate arose as they began realizing they would soon be empty nesters.
“We were looking for more to do, but we are not quite sure why we decided we didn’t want any spare time,” Austin joked of how busy they are with the store.
Originally from Victoria, Vincent moved to Nimpo Lake in 1991 to raise a family and then into Williams Lake in 1999.
Austin was born in Merritt, but moved here when she was two years old.
The two became friends when Austin went to work for Joe Augustine Contracting Ltd., owned by Vincent’s husband. Austin is still working there full time.
“We believe in the future of Williams Lake and would like to see the downtown grow,” Vincent said, noting they have opened their minds to listen and learn what people want. “We’ve heard from friends, family and people in the community.”
Taking advice has been a learning experience, she smiled.
Last month they decided to stop offering shoe repair, but continue to apply “tuff toe” to boots and are doing a “ton” of stretching of boots and shoes.
Claudia Beaulieu bought the store’s sewing machine and will do the stitching out of her home, they said.
Another reason for closing the shoe repair is the simple fact they desperately need more space to store inventory, Austin said as she showed how much room in the back is taken up by the shoe repair equipment.
Bob’s Shoes is located at 248 Borland Street, open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.