Industry insiders weigh in on the personalities and strategies that have made the store a footwear powerhouse.
President, Earth Footwear
“Sam and Tarek work as one. Each fully supports the other, plays off the other’s strengths and leans on the other to make the best decisions for the business. That kind of confidence, trust and teamwork is what makes Sam and Tarek such a powerful force in the retail market.”
SVP of men’s footwear, Salvatore Ferragamo
“They have a really different perspective for their clients. Because of that, they do innovative things with the products. They have such incredible energy and a youthful approach that transcends ages. They also have a clear eye on the fashion aspect, which separates them from others.”
Sales director for the East, Timberland
“Tarek and Sam have a constant desire to be the best at everything they do, which makes them great partners to work with. When you walk into their store on Boylston Street and see the care given to each detail — from the merchandise selected to the layout of the displays — it’s obvious how devoted they are to creating the ultimate retail experience.”
U.S. sales director, Sorel
“The Tannery is Boston’s iconic independent retailer with a respect for authentic, premium heritage brands. At the same time, they showcase directional, globally trend-right product. People seek out and trust The Tannery for premium brands.”
SVP of sales, Dansko
“Over the years, The Tannery has been a great retail partner for Dansko. [They’re] not afraid to freshen up their image or their merchandise. They have shown a keen ability to evolve and grow with the retail environment [and] they have done a great job of transforming their stores to stay ahead in a sophisticated Boston retail climate.”
Sales director, Ecco
“Sam and Tarek Hassan are very dynamic in the way they approach the business. They’re passionate and innovative. They’re always looking for the next big thing, whether that’s a retail practice or a fashion trend, and are looking forward, not backward. The flagship store at 711 Boylston St. is now a destination for the shoe industry. Everyone, when they’re in Boston, makes a point of going to the store.”
President, Lacoste N.A.
“The Tannery is truly one of the greatest independently owned footwear businesses: beautiful stores, iconic brands and fantastic people to work alongside. Concepts has also been responsible for some of the most high-profile, cool and on-trend footwear collaborations globally in recent years. Spending time with Sam and Tarek is always a pleasure. Plain and simple, just great people to know and do business with.”
“Doing business with The Tannery is akin to getting your Harvard MBA in independent retail. To really build your brand, you’ll find no better partners — and the intensity they bring to the business 365 days a year forces you to work at a level far higher than you may have thought possible. They quite literally force you to be the best you can possibly be. I am a far better executive in my career just for having such a deep and integrated professional and personal relationship with Sam and Tarek.”
Director of sales, Stefano Furiani, a division of Crocs Inc.
“Sam’s business acumen is the finest in the industry. It’s unbelievable. He pioneered so many things, and I’ve learned so much as an observer. He was doing shop-in-shops in the mid ’80s, when no one in independent retail was doing that. I marvel at what he did. He’s always one step ahead of the market.”
President & CEO, Hunter Boot N.A.
“The Tannery’s use of concept shops and the innovative way in which they bring their product to the customer has defined retail. Not only does this innovation strike a chord with Hunter — and what is important to us — but we also value The Tannery as a partner for enabling the Hunter heritage and story to be told in their stores.”
Founder & designer, Anyi Lu International
“The Tannery’s uncanny ability to know what is exactly right for their customers [distinguishes the retailer from other stores]. Tarek is an innovator in the industry. He sets the trends. If he’s wearing it, it’s cool.”
Eastern VP of sales, Clarks
“What started as a little shoe store has transformed into its own brand and an international destination. What it all boils down to — what the Tannery is all about — is relationships and trust. Sam and Tarek go way beyond what you expect.”
President of the Americas, Rockport
“Many people may see Sam as an astute businessman with a strong track record of success, which is understood and true. However, my interaction with Sam casts him as a teacher who communicates and mentors through parables and storytelling. Tarek’s insight into his customer goes beyond primary and secondary consumer research methods; he understands them in a more instinctive and organic way. His commitment to his art is a marvel to observe. He is a true visionary.”
President, Sperry Top-Sider
“Sam and Tarek have built an incredible business based on attention to detail, willingness to take risks, extraordinarily strong vendor partnerships and, most importantly, a passion for what they do. They are constantly inventing and reinventing themselves through new ideas and concepts.”
GM of North America, Tretorn
“They have the ability to find the right market and embrace the right product. They see things before they’re happening.”
President of the Lifestyle Group, Wolverine World Wide Inc.
“The Tannery has helped to raise standards in our industry. Sam and Tarek present a retail environment that enables brands to showcase the very best products they have to offer. The Tannery is one of the most influential footwear retailers in North America, if not the world. Consumers from every continent shop at The Tannery — it’s the best environment in which to build and market your brand. The Tannery also allows you to test leading-edge products to gauge consumer response for potential broader distribution.”
GM of heritage brands, H.H. Brown
“What makes The Tannery so successful is the clear point of view in the design and aesthetics of the merchandise they select. They know product and believe in product and buy what they like. They buy aggressively and invest in relationships.”
President, Minnetonka Moccasin Co.
“Sam and Tarek do everything right. They are students of the business and are amazing retailers who always have a finger on the pulse of the consumer. They understand brands and how to properly manage them. If your brand is fortunate enough to be in The Tannery, you know you will be in good hands with the Hassans.”
Jacqueline Van Dine
“They have a clear vision for contemporary fashion and relevancy to all their demographics. You go to The Tannery and there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for comfort walking shoes or the latest fashion hit, you’ll find it.”