Across generations: Michelson’s Shoes takes on the challenge of a century
Michelson’s Shoes has seen it all: two World Wars, the Spanish Flu, stock market crashes, hurricanes, recessions, blizzards, and coastal flooding – and now the coronavirus.
But the Lexington store, which originated as a shoe repair shop in Lexington Center back in 1919, keeps moving forward, one foot in front of the other, so to speak.
“This is by far the biggest challenge that we’ve ever faced before,” said Eric Michelson, fourth generation co-owner along with his brother Jerry. “We’ve faced an evolving marketplace. We’ve faced pressure from department stores and from big box stores, and then online shopping.”
Even during the height of the pandemic, the Michelsons persisted, maintaining their commitment and reputation for excellent customer service.
“We’ve always set ourselves apart – and kept our customer base – by our service. Through the pandemic, we’ve offered free home delivery for our online orders to service customers better.” said Michelson. “Lots of places – including the big boxes – can sell shoes. But not many have a dedicated staff that’s courteous and knowledgeable. We offer a full range of sizes and widths for men, women, and children all in one store.”
Throughout the pandemic, the family business, which has a second location in Needham, has upgraded its commitment to safety, including installing plexiglass barriers and instituting extensive staff safety protocols. As his family’s business adjusts to the new normal, Michelson hopes for the same.
“We’re ready to have our customers come back and we’re ready to do business with them on their terms. All these things we’re doing just prove to people the value of small businesses like ours. What we take away from it and how we modify the way we do business going forward will be shaped by the ‘new normal’ – and whatever that is, we’re ready.”