Step into 358 Main Street in the village of Catskill and you’ll be transported to a world of wonder. Shoofly (formerly a teeny star from NYC for 30 years with locations on the Upper West Side and Tribeca), has relocated to the Downstreet Business Community. Inside you will find deeply discounted children’s shoes from major European companies and whimsical accessories and toys.
You’ll also most likely meet Roz Viemeister, who remains steadfast in the importance of measuring and fitting shoes, along with excellent customer service.
Roz has lived in Catskill since 2005, but as NYC retail space rents continued to soar, she decided to bring her vision and her passion Upstate.
“I was getting priced out of my space,” she recalls. “I was doing a lot of commuting. I was happy to stop that long commute.”
Having caught the retail bug when she was in college, Roz worked at a children’s boutique on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
“I became interested in shoes then, I don’t know why — I love cute shoes,” she remembers. “I fell in love with European shoes for kids.”
To make her store more interesting, she offered unique shoe brands, socks and other items not found anywhere else. She is also a firm believer that children should be part of the process when buying shoes – displaying everything at a kids'eye level so they can see and touch anything that strikes their fancy.
In today’s online marketplace, it’s difficult to compete with dominant forces like Amazon and Zappos, but the experience of trying on shoes and clothes appeals to customers, and first visits to her shop foreshadow many happy returns.
“What you’re getting is a service; you’re getting a properly fit shoe for your kid,” she said. “They want to try on that shoe right there”, Roz explains.
Tying in with the Cats of Summer that line Downstreet, Shoofly features many cat-themed products including women’s leggings, shoulder bags, hair accessories, and tee shirts in an area of the shop dubbed “Kitty Corner.”
Quality is the key to developing loyal, long-term customers. “There’s a lot of schlock out there,” says Roz “I try to get the good stuff.” And the Good Stuff definitely abounds at Shoofly:
Enter a harried couple seeking to foster "Favorite Great Auntie & Uncle Status” with a 3-year-old nephew and 6-year-old niece they’re meeting for the first time; Exit a confident pair of Baby-Boomers with expertly chosen, sized, and beautifully wrapped gifts (and priceless smiles and looks of wonder from the kids).
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