OVERVIEW: V&J- Working Person’s Store
Denmar Enterprises Purchases V&J Shoes
Denmar Enterprises purchased V&J Shoe Sales & Repair from Virgil and Joann Waltz on July 1, 1995. The expansion goal was fueled by the desire to achieve shared leadership & overhead control as well as cross-sell between the other Lakeville-based Demar businesses (Mary’s Resale, Mary’s Furniture Stripping etc.).
The Waltz footwear inventory was moved from it’s location in the South Bend Broadmore Shopping Center to the Lakeville site in early July. Lakeville building renovation took a month to complete and the new V&J footcare business opened on August 1, 1995.
“To provide for men and women within the working environment (farmers, ranchers, construction, industrial, manufacturing) with quality footwear and clothing products which provide to them comfort, safety and economy.”
V&J places major emphasis on providing it’s customers with quality, American-made factory first and factory second footwear at attractive prices. Customers and markets are clustered by sector based upon our retail store locations. From these locations we serve both factory and store walk-in customers within at least a 35 mile radius from the Lakeville retail store.
V&J is rapidly developing a reputation for carrying a complete line of specialty footwear (work/home/hunting) and clothing (Carhartt Clothing and Dickies workwear, rain gear and hunting wear). The company ultimately wants to carry within each V&J retail store an overwhelming supply of inventory complete with the required styles, colors and sizes. We believe this is an especially important part of our strategy since even the large competitors do not presently carry the work footwear and clothing selection we offer. They are also not interested in placing special customer orders.
Once a strong foothold has been attained in the men and women’s footwear and clothing lines we intend to expand into the uniform business.
Although profit is an important goal, we believe it is important to continually stress to our team and customers alike that the primary purpose for any business is “to create new customers and keep existing ones.”
Shoe Repair Service
V&J believes its shoe repair service differentiates it from large competitors. As a result, shoe repair will be treated as a strategic issue during at least the upcoming two year period.
Although transparent to our customers, V&J is actually three separate operations:
- V&J Shoe Sales, Repair and Clothing Shoppe – Lakeville, IN.
- V&J Work Boots and Clothing Company – Osceola, IN
- V&J Outside Footwear and Clothing Sales Company
Each V&J business represents excellent growth potential. This is futher demonstrated by the large numbers of factories located within our marketing area. In addition, every employees working in our targeted markets need and wear work footwear and clothing. We know the need exists and we want to fill it! V&J also spends a considerable amount of time deliberating how to serve customers in ways the competition either won’t do, don’t know to do or don’t know how to do.
The largest potential is found in the V&J Outside Footwear and Clothing Sales Company. Within this business unit sales are controlled through scheduled customer site-visits which is far improved over waiting for customers to shop as happens within the retail business. The outside sales market also offers the potential for large sales within a small time period . This of course translates into lower overhead expenses and thus enhanced gross profits.
The V&J Outside Sales Company
In past years, factory on-site footwear sales were dominated by the large, out-of-state footwear manufacturer distributors using shoe mobile units.
Despite this market penetration , V&J believes the on-site customer sales initiative is actually in its infancy stage with plenty of room for the tried and proven local market leader. In fact, the real market need is for a local retailer with the ability to deliver a service component which the out-of-state provider cannot effectively provide. As a result of this belief, V&J continues to move forward with the following benefits it believes a local vendor is best able to accomplish:
- A large,available selection of comfortable American-made safety/work footwear styles, sizes and widths
- A large,available selection of American-made work clothing
- Discounted prices to the ultimate consumer (the factory worker)
A company developed employee payroll deduction program which allows the employee to acquire quality footwear without suffering the cash flow crunch this type of purchase can initially create for them. On the other hand, we know that in the long-run the product will hold up far superior to the product acquired from the competition. In fact, we have determined the average worker spends almost double the yearly amount for foreign product than they do for our products. They have continued to suffer this financial loss because of the smaller cash requirement related to frequent footwear replacement.
This outside sales market will continue to enlarge as more and more companies become concerned about employee safety, OSHA regulations and as a result implement footwear safety programs.
Due to the extremely large potential the outside sales market represents, Denmar continues to think about involving successful, profressional, local business people as V&J Outside Sales Company minority owners. It is believed that either through added levels of ownership and/or effective alliances with other local footwear/clothing retailers the business will be better able to flourish and prosper.
V&J – Lakeville
V&J presently derives a uniqueness and differentiation from its Lakeville, Indiana store’s large size & layout, location on a busy highway, image and pricing. It also prides itself on being easy to do business with, having professional/technical competence and providing personalized, friendly service.
We believe customers receive value-added benefits through the following:
- Good Product Style Selection, Sizes and Widths
- Great Pricing on Factory First and Factory Second Products
- Personalized Service
- Quality, American-made products
- Product delivery via the shoe mobile
- Prompt defective product repair or replacement program
It is our desire to provide for our Lakeville male and female working people (farmers, ranchers, construction, industrial, manufacturing) with attractively priced, comfortable, quality footwear and clothing products. We are developing a reputation for carrying a complete line of work/hunting footwear and clothing. We believe the combination of footwear and clothing for workers, hunters, etc. is appreciated and will continue to reflect high (but perhaps seasonal) customer loyalty.
Our sense is that as customers receive benefit from V&J, they in turn may want to offer the same to their own company’s customers.
Our pricing is based on the “every day low price” concept. V&J conducts quarterly scheduled competitor pricing.
Our reputation as a provider of unique, quality, attractive products at affordable prices continues to increase.
Due to our low price theme we do not offer advertised sales and/or promotions. Experience has shown that the best advertisement we have going for us is satisfied word of mouth promotion. We do utilize a direct mail campaign which is carefully targeted at both new and existing customers. One particularly attractive prospect for us are the union halls which send their members in exchange for a discount when showing a union card.
In terms of merchandising (the presentation of a product in the immediate vicinity of its point of sale in such a manner that it attracts attention) we are weak in most of the V&J operations. A particular weakness is product pricing via tags, signs, etc.
We believe a business cannot serve customers well nor manage its workforce without first developing those who ultimately deliver the service. Equally important today is that a great deal of importance within the marketplace is being placed on the information, knowledge and creativity contained within the business. The upshot of this is to understand and act in ways which support the reality that the only way any business gains access to these valuable commodities is through the employees within the business and in whom those resources reside. As a result, people development is believed to be an integral part of V&J’s strategic business objectives.
When all is said and done, the V&J difference stems from a unique market niche entry, a professional approach to the business, our life/work purpose and lastly, but most importantly, our people.
We believe our greatest future competitive strength will come from having brought together an effective leadership/management team. From this nucleus of aggressive, educated team players will come significant depth and strength.
V&J therefore is a commitment to people. And, it is this commitment that requires leadership to operate in ways which compliment the company’s vision, pupose and prescribed operating practices.
In simple everday terms it means an intense understanding and focus on the differences of people, showing dignity and respect for peole, recognizing the strengths of others, allowing employees to exercise creativity, to take inititive in their daily work and to trust them with our company purpose. After all, it is the person closest to the customer who develops the relationship.