June Business of the Month: Dodds Shoe Co. – A local Laramie business with national touch
Dodds Shoe Co. has called Laramie home for decades and over the years, the business has grown to be a Gem City staple with national reach.
Owner Jeff Dodds explained the rich history, culture and business of his shoe store in downtown Laramie.
Dodds Shoe Co. came along after the current owner’s great grandfather started a dry goods and department store in 1930.
“I’m the fourth generation in the retail business,” said Dodds, “and my grandfather purchased this store in 1964, so we’ve been here for 54 years.”
Over the years, the store has made it a priority to keep the latest styles in stock. And this is just one part of day-to-day operations.
“We spend a great deal of time buying and merchandising,” said Dodds. “We get new shoes in everyday and the product is always evolving.”
Staff also maintains the Dodds Shoe Co. website every day.
“If we receive a new style it has to go on our website and when styles are discontinued, they have to come off,” said Dodds. “And we spend a lot of time merchandising the website with new graphics and placing promotions and adding new functionality to our site.”
The website was started in 2003. Today, there are over 5,000 products from 100 different brands on doddsshoe.com.
The website has given Dodds Shoe Co. the opportunity to service customers across the nation while maintaining its home base in Laramie. Also, warehousing merchandise in Laramie lets Dodds control the customer experience.
“We ship from coast to coast, in fact, our biggest markets for our website are the East and West Coast,” said Dodds. “When we started our website, we thought we were going to appeal to the rural Rocky Mountain resident. It couldn’t have turned out more different than expected, in fact, our first order came in from New York City. That was a real surprise to us.”
While the website gets refreshed almost daily with updated merchandise, promotions and usability, the exterior of the physical store is undergoing a refresh this summer.
“People will notice some color changes,” said Dodds.
He noted the building has had awnings added over the years, but not much else has changed.
Another item on Dodds Shoe Store’s schedule this summer is coming up on Saturday, June 16. The annual Brews and Shoes event is being held for the third consecutive year from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Dodds Shoe Co.
“We started two years ago and it’s turned out to be a great deal of fun,” said Dodds. “We have about 7 or 8 vendor representatives that fly in from around the country and they offer discounts on their lines, product knowledge and all kinds of special giveaways in addition to the free beer and food, of course.”
The Brews and Shoes event is just one way the company promotes itself. Between promotions, maintaining his downtown store and maintaining the online store, owner Jeff Dodds still makes time to get involved in the community through several civic organizations and activities.
“My family has been involved with a lot of organizations over the years, we’ve been in Rotary and Cowboy Joe Club,” said Dodds. “I was on the Board of Directors for the chamber, we’re members of the UW Alumni Association, I was on the board of LEDC, I’m on the board of the Ivinson Home for Ladies, and I was on the board of the Downtown Laramie Business Association.”
Because of Dodds’ community involvement and support given and received, the Laramie community can count on enjoying shopping at Dodds Shoe Co. for years to come.
“We’ve really enjoyed Laramie,” said Dodds. “We’ve always enjoyed Laramie and the community and the support we’ve received. It’s a great place to do business.”
Join them for their Brews and Shoes event Saturday, June 16 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and check them out online at doddsshoe.com