The National Shoe Retailers Association (NSRA) honored Troy Dempsey as its 2022 Retailer of the Year during NSRA’s Leadership Conference held in Tucson, Arizona. Troy is the owner of Green Bay’s The Heel Shoe Fitters, a 23,000 sq. ft., welcoming A-frame store, which houses over 60,000 pairs of high-quality shoes, as well as clothing and accessories.
When accepting the award, Dempsey remarked, “Wow, this is incredibly humbling. One of my favorite phrases is, ‘the harder you work the luckier you get’. Our team works incredibly hard every day on our mission to give the best customer service experience our customers ever had. I’m lucky to have an incredible team at The Heel.”
Dempsey is not only the owner of The Heel but is also a board-certified pedorthist. A pedorthist is a specialist who uses footwear and orthotics to address problems related to the feet and lower limbs. He and his team, which includes other pedorthists, as well as full-time shoe cobblers, take a step-by-step approach to serving customers. The non-commission sales team members seek to listen to the customers’ needs as well as to teach them about healthy foot care. The goal is to provide a zero-pressure sales approach and to help customers make the best decisions.
The mission and the sales model are working. In 2021, The Heel increased total sales by 70% while maintaining a 51.5% gross profit margin.
NSRA’s vice chair, Jill Snyder, remarked, “This not only exhibits grit and resilience, but it’s an example of exemplary leadership through what many may say is the most challenging years they have ever faced in business.” While presenting the Retailer of the Year award to Dempsey, Snyder went on to say, “If you know Troy, he is a man with a great heart for service and genuine compassion for people. Troy humbly uses the platform he has built as an opportunity to give back to the community that supports his business.”
As The Heel’s sales increase, so does the benefit to the local economy. As a local small business, The Heel’s impact extends beyond the walls of its bricks-and-mortar store. When customers “shop small” at a local business, $68 of every $100 they spend stays in the community, which is more than twice the amount that chain stores reinvest into communities.
In the case of The Heel, local workforce is employed and local taxes are paid, while local contractors and printers are hired for projects and materials. Shopping bags and shipping boxes are locally sourced, and The Heel actively donates to local charities.
The Heel offers both in-store shopping at 930 Waube Lane in Green Bay, and online shopping at https://theheel.com/.