ENK’s Kroll Refutes WSA Rumors

NEW YORK — Elyse Kroll is fighting back.

The chairwoman, founder and chief creative officer of ENK International — the parent company of The WSA Show — emphatically denied rumors circulating in the industry last week that claimed WSA had filed for bankruptcy.

“I can’t imagine how these rumors got started,” Kroll said. “But we need to stop them. There is nothing true about them.”

Kroll said she learned of the rumor the week after the recent WSA Show closed. “It started to heat up to the point where we have now seen an e-mail chain. We’re living in a rumor mill,” she said. “It cries in the face of any kind of logic.”

Kroll said ENK, which acquired WSA in December 2007, is upbeat about the show’s future and is already making changes to strengthen it.

“[At the February edition], it was very evident that ENK is investing in the show, freshening it up and making it a very important showcase for the footwear industry,” she said. “We are committed to making this show more powerful than it is now. If we didn’t think WSA was vital or essential, we wouldn’t have gotten involved.”

Chris Davis, a member of ENK’s board of directors and a general partner at Forstmann Little & Co., a substantial investor in ENK, said WSA has been a strong addition to the ENK portfolio.

“We think ENK/WSA is a great [combination],” she said, adding that ENK has extremely solid financials. “We have a lot of cash on hand and great banking relationships.”

Moving forward, Kroll said the company would focus on merchandising the show in a more efficient way and improving communication with vendors and retailers.

“It’s not going to be the same old WSA,” she said.

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