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Shoozies: Where comfort and fashion meet

August 20th, 2012 8:41 am by Susan Kendrick Lauhoff

Shoozies: Where comfort and fashion meet

The retail store has a huge selection from which to choose the perfect accessory including many stylish and comfortable brands.

A mid-90s mother-daughter trip to Atlanta proved rewarding when Peggy Lavinder Wilson asked her creative 10-year-old daughter, Annie, to help name her new store. After a little thought and doodling by the young artist, the clever logo and Shoozies were born.


Wilson, a former Tennessee Eastman employee, had opened Connie Shoes in what is now Kingsport Town Center in 1986. At the time, she was without retail experience but had much encouragement from her late husband, Larry Lavinder, who had also been employed with Eastman while opening KarmelKorn in the same mall. With the introduction of comfort shoes, Connie Shoes became Shoozies.


With support and encouragement from her family and husband Earl Wilson, she re-located the Kingsport store to Reedy Creek Terrace in 2011 - a year after opening her second store in downtown Bristol.


Shoozies offers a Brighton boutique and specializes in European comfort. Thus, the slogan "Where Comfort and Fashion Meet," developed by the store’s manager Kristen Terry.


"The primary focus is the customer. We want to meet their needs and know that they are happy with each purchase. If we do not have a specific item in the store, we will try our hardest to get it for them one way or the other. We take pride in knowing that we made someone happy," Terry said.


That attention to detail and personal customer service cultivates a satisfying shopping experience and repeat business. And, it is that attention that has proven to be what customers appreciate about Shoozies.


"We order shoes that will meet different needs for different people with different types of feet. We order fashionable, yet comfortable shoes," Terry elaborates.


The retail store has a huge selection from which to choose the perfect accessory including many stylish and comfortable brands, such as Naot, Birkenstock, Alegria, Dansko, Sofft, Earth/Earthies, Nicole and Born. Shoozies also offers the full-line of Brighton jewelry, handbags, gifts and charms. And what wardrobe would not be complete without sassy reading glasses, sunglasses, a scarf or Hobo?


Mutual respect exists between owner and manager as their working relationship has grown over the two years Terry has been with Shoozies. Wilson depends upon Terry to not only manage Bristol but to help buy the merchandise as well. Being a buyer in retail is an opportunity to set trends. And Terry considers Wilson "a wonderful person to work for," since she has been supportive of her college career (earning a degree in small business management), marriage and motherhood.


The Bristol store is tucked in the quaint downtown area at 527 State Street with black wrought iron and flower boxes welcoming customers. Upon entering, exposed brick walls from a bygone era are the backdrop for gorgeous displays of wardrobe enhancers. With a much more modern feel, the Kingsport store, located at 1880 North Eastman Road behind Starbucks, has more light and airy room than their previous mall business. With the extra space, the customer receives more one-on-one attention and has a better view of the products.


Displays with constant fresh looks tantalize the shopping experience. So, do something special for yourself and visit Shoozies to find that "just right" accessory or pair of shoes to complement your clothes and ego. Even Cinderella's sisters would find the perfect fit. The Bristol store (276-644-3275) is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Kingsport store (423-247-3995) hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers may also contact Shoozies by email at shop@shooziesdowntown.com or friend them on www.Facebook.com/shoozies.

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