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Downtown store might be 'shoe-in'

October 29, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

In keeping with the owner's philosophy, customers who walk into Shoe Fly Pi are not shooed to boxes of shoes and forced to find a good fit themselves.

Instead, an employee will sit them down, determine their size, bring shoes to them and even offer advice, said store owner Corretta Doctor.

"I believe if you're going to provide a product, there must be a service," Doctor said. "I feel really good at the end of the day because I didn't just sell a shoe."

Shoe Fly Pi opened in Hagerstown last month at 98 W. Washington St., at the intersection with Jonathan Street.

The store carries a main line of Vaneli shoes, which are made in Florence, Italy, as well as Rangoni and Sesto Meucci shoes, also from Italy.

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It also carries Earth shoes, including shoes suitable for vegans who do not wear leather. Other shoes in the Earth line are made from leather and other materials, and the shoes are designed for people who spend a lot of time on their feet, Doctor said.

Lastly, the store features boutique-style shoes that start at $10 a pair and that are rotated. Once a type of those shoes sells out, they will not be carried again, creating a uniqueness customers appreciate.

"Everyone in Hagerstown isn't going to have this shoe," she said.

The Italian and Earth shoes are kept in stock, and can be special ordered, with no extra fee or shipping fee charged.

The store has about 120 different types of shoes available, with about 85 percent for women.

Doctor has an appreciation for shoes herself.

"I own more shoes than styles we carry in this store," she said.

The shop also features custom jewelry made by Virginia artist Kimberly Entrican, with Naked Beads.

Doctor initially planned to open her shop in Frederick, but then met someone who encouraged her to look at Hagerstown and attend a Destination Hagerstown meeting.

She did, and she also saw a need.

"I couldn't find shoes anywhere in (downtown) Hagerstown," Doctor said. "There is no shoe store, literally."

Not opening in a downtown area was never considered, she said.

Growing up in South Carolina, Doctor said every Saturday night she and her family would go downtown - and she still believes it's important to shop in one's downtown.

Filling empty Hagerstown storefronts will help attract people downtown, and Doctor said she would like to see more specialty clothing shops open, as well as a pet store and other shops that could fill a family's day.

"I'm a destination, there's nothing else to come for," she said - saying there are no other businesses like dress shops to complement her store.

She said the city of Hagerstown has been helpful.

"I have had warmth, appreciation, welcome," she said. "Anything I've needed they've helped me with."

In keeping with a business plan that she spent three years creating, Doctor said she expects to open four more Shoe Fly Pi stores - in Altoona, Pa.; South Carolina; Miami and somewhere in the Virgin Islands.

Doctor lives in Hagerstown and works in Washington as procurement manager for an international government contractor working for the Department of State.

As for the store name, Doctor said when she came to Hagerstown, shoo fly pie seemed popular - and it struck her that with slight modifications it could be a great store name.

"Shoe Fly Pie" was already registered as a store name, so Doctor used the mathematical term "pi" in her name instead.

She had never tasted a shoo fly pie, but one day came to the store while it was still being renovated and found that the contractors had left her a pie with a "good luck" note.

"Very sweet," she said of the pie. "Just like our business has been."

Shoe Fly Pi is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

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