There are few things in the fashion world more coveted than a great pair of shoes. The right pair can make you feel like a million bucks, and thanks to the likes of Christian Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent and Jimmy Choo, they can cost a pretty penny as well. So, what’s a girl (or guy for that matter, as great shoes know no gender) to do to make sure their shoes live a long and happy life and nurse them back into health when they need it? Well, thanks to husband-and-wife team Barry and Ellen Croft, your soles are in great hands over at Shoe Savers on Bissonnet. Married and in business together for over 30 years, this duo takes the business of shoes very seriously. What started out as a few shops, got honed into focusing all their energy on their flagship location in the Village, applying the philosophy of “doing the best you can every day and doing it right the first time” into every shoe.
Barry is the first to admit he is not easy to work with; he has, in fact, sometimes even turned shoes away that have been worked on improperly by others. However, he has fine-tuned his craft and meticulous attention to detail into a reputation that precedes him, by winning so many times at the Shoe Service Institute of America that he is working his way into being the Meryl Streep of the shoe service industry. Behind, or in this case right beside, every good man is a great woman, and Ellen’s tireless public relations efforts over the years with Neiman’s at The Galleria have now spread like wildfire: During our interview over the course of an hour, three separate women came in to protect their precious shoes right after purchasing them on the advice of the shoe department at Neiman’s. Barry will be the first to tell you an ounce of prevention is not only vital, but goes a long way to protect the worthwhile investment in today’s designer heels.
Dealing with so many interesting clients, Barry and Ellen have more than a few tales to tell (don’t worry, he doesn’t name names, although he is planning on writing a book one of these days) about the luxury shoe saving business. One of his favorites is that of a local socialite who sent her assistant in for him to fix two pairs of her beloved Chanels, and after picking them up, she was all but convinced that these were not her shoes. They had been repaired so well she was adamant they must have been “brand new” and came all the way back to the store to make sure these were really her shoes. Barry and Ellen have developed such a rapport with their clients, that clients sometimes invite them on vacation with them and share pictures of their shoe closets. Longtime customer Tana Pool says, “They are so special here and take such great care of my shoes and purses; they now have me trained to bring in everything as soon as I buy it.” Take it from Tana, whose closet is enough to make even Carrie Bradshaw jealous.
While there are a lot of places you can take your beloved heels, boots, shoes or sandals (Ellen swears by her love for a pair of Yves Saint Laurent sandals that looked brand new thanks to her loving care) to in Houston, this local, cash-only shop, run straight from the heart will make you never want to take your shoes anywhere else again.