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10 Most Innovative Store Owners

These 10 storeowners have proven that innovation and persistence can offer a clear path to success.

Maurice Breton
President; Comfort One Shoes

To engage customers, Comfort One expanded its in-store events and set up shop this month at the Marine Corps Marathon and the boat shows in Annapolis, Md. While poor weather made for a rocky first half of 2014, Comfort One is recovering with double-digit growth in several of its 21 locations and has invested in new inventory and e-commerce systems.

Beth Buccini; Sarah Easley
Founders, co-owners; Kirna Zabêtejoce

Coming off a successful collab last year with Nine West, Buccini and Easley are celebrating their 15th year in business in 2014, and they do so in a new 10,000-sq.-ft. location in New York’s Soho neighborhood.

Laure Heriard Dubreuil
Owner, co-founder; The Webster

The Webster opened its second women’s boutique at the Bal Harbour Shops in Miami late last year, and this month, a stand-alone men’s location was set to debut right next door. Exclusives and collaborations have been a big focus for the store, including partnerships with Le Bon Marché and Eres. Dubreuil also cultivates relationships with designers such as new addition Francesco Russo and Pierre Hardy, for whom she hosted a high-profile anniversary party at Paris Fashion Week.

Isack Fadlon
Partner, CEO; Sportie LA

From the World Cup to themed events featuring Disney, Fadlon’s Sportie LA pop-in space remains a key sales and traffic driver. The new location on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles represents a fresh concept with an elevated design space and more emphasis on the Sportie LA brand. Meanwhile, the flagship on Melrose is on tap for a renovation, and the website will bow a user-friendly design in December.

Ronnie Fieg
Founder, owner; Kith

Fieg continues to carve a niche among sneakerheads, thanks to his extensive collaborations, including his first with Adidas this year. His Soho store underwent a major expansion in October — nearly tripling in size to 4,000 square feet — to house more shoes and a growing apparel offering.

Peter Hanig; Daniel Hanig
President; VP; Hanig’s Footwear

Despite shuttering their original Lincoln Park neighborhood store in July, the Chicago-based Hanigs remain upbeat. Sales at the remaining three locations are up 3 percent from 2013, and the retailers aim to unveil a revamped, shoppable website later this year.

Tarek Hassan; Sam Hassan
Co-owners; The Tannery, Concepts

The Hassans spent 2014 focused on e-commerce: Outdoor retail site Wildernessworkshop.com and luxury site Curatedbythetannery.com will launch in the coming months, as will a complete revamp of Thetannery.com. Concepts could also make its long-awaited Big Apple debut in the first half of 2015.

Sarah Lerfel
Founder, owner; Colette

Lerfel’s Parisian shop exerted major influence this year, debuting the Apple smartwatch during September fashion week, hosting pop-ups for Dior and Pharrell, and snagging an exclusive collab for the Adidas Stan Smith.

Carol Lim; Humberto Leon
Founders; Opening Ceremony

Lim and Leon offered the unexpected once again in 2014. In May, they debuted a Magritte-inspired collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, and this fall partnered with Intel on two smart bracelets. The duo are also talking store expansions — possibly in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco — aided by the backing of new investor Berkshire Partners.

Danny Wasserman; Lester Wasserman
CEO; Tip Top Shoes, Tip Top Kids; Owner; West

Tip Top streamlined its omnichannel platforms over the past year, debuting a cleaner website for Tip Top and integrating a new POS system for controlling inventory. A new portal, Workshoes.com, will launch by year’s end, and the Wassermans continue to hunt for the right spot for a second kids’ store in New York.

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