Downtown Chandler store a shoe-in for comfort, service SanTan Sun News

Downtown Chandler store a shoe-in for comfort, service

November 7th, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Downtown Chandler store a shoe-in for comfort, service
Business
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By COLLEEN SPARKS, Staff

Shoe Thrill, a downtown Chandler business, tries to pair ease and beauty in every sandal, heel, loafer, boot, tennis shoe, clog, flip-flop and other piece of foot apparel.

Besides offering upscale shoes designed to accommodate any feet, regardless of their issues, store owner Carissa Krausman said employees at her shop at 11 W. Boston St. wait on customers hand and foot, helping them find the right size and bringing them even more choices in shoes than they had envisioned.

Selling shoes is a passion for Krausman, whose business recently celebrated its five-year anniversary.

“I specialize in European fashion comfort,” she said. “Every year, I try to go funkier, prettier and brighter colors. Shoe shopping should always be fun. I am a shopaholic and playing adult Barbie is fun.”

Shoes in a rainbow of bright and subdued colors and styles in unusual and more traditional shapes line the walls and tables in the cozy store. One of the brands the store carries is Taos, which aims to offer shoes that are easy on the feet but attractive and feature natural stones, metal ornaments and lighthearted embroidery.

The Taos Sadie-style sandals at Shoe Thrill have a padded contour cork footbed lined in suede, and they offer two hook-and-loop straps to allow people to adjust them. The sandals have modern metal rivet additions and decorative buckles

The Chandler shoe store also offers soft Arcopedico LS lace-up shoes with knitted uppers shaped to the foot that feel like slippers.

For actual slippers, Shoe Thrill has several whimsical casual women’s wool clog-type Haflinger Jack slippers including one style with a colorful picture of half of a dog on one shoe and the other half of the dog on the other foot.

The Alegria Holli heel in the “spiffy merlot” color has an adjustable Velcro strap and slips on easily with a Dream Fit upper that combines leather and open cell neoprene, the fabric used to make wetsuits, to accommodate feet and allow them to breathe.

Krausman is head over heels for a new purple A.S. 98 boot with a flower and paisley pattern and soft suede leather interior.

Another brand carried at Shoe Thrill is Think! Krausman said the company’s shoes are made from natural materials and come in “beautiful leathers.” The Think! Ana bootie in black has a platform sole and metallic detailed leather, giving it a modern, Bohemian feel. Shoe Thrill has many tall and short boots in eye-popping colors including the yellow Jafa 182 mid-calf boot with slim laces, a padded color and flat heel.

The average price of shoes at Shoe Thrill is $130.

Besides appreciating the visual appeal of shoes, Krausman knows the importance of keeping feet healthy and correcting feet problems. While jumping on a trampoline with another woman just before she turned 22, she landed with her knee locked.

She said her knee exploded and “bone fragments” were everywhere. Krausman has a reconstructed plateau and a reattached posterior cruciate ligament. She has a titanium plate and several screws in her right knee as a result of the injury, and it’s painful to go barefoot.

With the right shoes, she’s able to work out five times a week and she wants to help other people with feet problems.

“Most of my customers have an issue like me,” Krausman said. “There’s a huge push for people to try to get healthier.”

Wearing shoes with the right support and features to avoid pain means people will be able to walk around more, she said.

Krausman said Shoe Thrill carries “awesome flip-flops” that will not hurt people who have plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and links the heel bone to the toes. She added her shoes also are comfortable for people with Achilles tendonitis.

“We are well versed, educated and accommodating to both foot issues and so much more,” she said. “Bunions, hammer toes, neuromas, you name the foot issue. We see it all.”

After having worked at Shoe Mill in Tempe for 10 years, and in the restaurant business for four years before that, she was ready to grow professionally. Krausman said she was used to working in the “comfort shoes” industry and wanted to open a store that was a destination in itself and also got a lot of foot traffic. Downtown Chandler has been the ideal spot for her store, which she said attracts many locals and out-of-state visitors.

“We’re very inclusive and involved,” Krausman said, adding she hangs out often with other local business owners. “You have more of a community like this. You feel like you’re not just a number.”

She often holds sales and other events at her store, including a party for her 35th birthday, where customers sold their clothes at the shop and bought new shoes.

Krausman also had a customer recipe exchange and used customers’ recipes in a cookbook she gave to all the participants. Those customers got a discount on shoes, as well as a free copy of the cookbook plus an extra one to sell for the holiday season.

“I’ve been in the industry 15 years and many of my customers are like family,” Krausman said.

Customers can get coupons when they sign up through the Shoe Thrills’ email list.

From November to the end of April, Shoe Thrill offers trunk sales, where customers get previews of shoes, catering and free gifts with purchases.

Because the popularity of brick-and-mortar stores is waning, she said business owners like her need to “think outside of the box.” Krausman, who has a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Arizona State University, said she and her employees work hard updating their Facebook page and Instagram. She sells leftover shows from the store on Amazon.com under the name Comfy Shoes.

While shoppers can spend two hours walking through a large designer discount store struggling to find what they want, they get lots of attention in Shoe Thrill. Krausman and her workers take time to talk to their customers, get to know their tastes and needs and bring them more shoes than the ones they ask to try on.

“I actually get disappointed if they buy what they picked out,” she said. “It’s an experience. I know how every style shoe in this store fits.”

Shoe Thrill’s e-commerce manager Samantha Weber also loves shoes and said her feet “feel a lot better” after wearing the brands at the store. She has an issue in her left foot due to a soccer injury.

“I love that there’s always something new to learn about different shoe brands,” Weber said.

The shoe store also carries jewelry, sunglasses and purses. Some of the purses include Hobo International’s naked leather and soft suede Cisco, which is a casual shoulder bag with a beaded strap, and Baggallini’s lightweight nylon travel bags.

Shoe Thrill is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To learn more about Shoe Thrill, visit shoethrill.com.

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