published Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Couple's 2nd comfort shoe shop keeps them on their toes


by Brittany Cofer
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Charlie McGinness, right, assembles shelving that his wife Courtnay McGinness, center, helped design for inside Chattanooga Shoe's second location. Lisa McMillian, left, waits with a shelving board at the shoe shop's North Shore Store.

Charlie and Courtnay McGinness ease pain every day, but they're not doctors.

The owners of Chattanooga Shoe Co., a local comfort shoe business, sell shoes that help with lower back, heel and arch pain.

With the recent opening of a second location on Manufacturers Road near Greenlife Grocery, they also hope to provide customers with trendy and fashion-forward styles.

"We do have a different product mix than we do on Gunbarrel [Road]," said Courtnay McGinness, referring to the store's other location. "Customers are more interested in buying comfort shoes now because a lot of the comfort shoe distributors come out with great styles and they're real cute."

The couple took over the business about two years ago, when it was known as Zumfoot. Before that, the original store was called Birkenstock Place, Charlie McGinness said.

"[The Zumfoot name] was always kind of a mystery," he said, adding the latest name change occurred about six months ago. "This name better describes who we are."

Coming from a family that has owned comfort shoe stores for at least a decade, Charlie McGinness said after a brief foray in the corporate world, he wanted to go back to what he knows best.

"Shoes are my thing," he said. "It's what I'm passionate about."

The pair also are passionate about keeping their business local and trying to promote as many other local businesses as possible, a reason why they chose the spot on the North Shore, they said.

"We're all about local tenants that we can partner with," said Courtnay McGinness, noting that many of the retailers surrounding the new location are locally owned or sell local goods. "It has been nice to be down there and experience that."

After the store's "surprisingly good" grand opening on Black Friday, she said she's been happy with the amount of foot traffic the new location has gotten.

"With the second store, it's giving me an opportunity to work in the store and I have loved it, being down there and meeting new people, more or less just meeting customers' needs," she said. "A lot of them come in in pain and we're able to let them leave the store with a smile on their face and a pep in their step."

Contact staff writer Brittany Cofer at bcofer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/brittanycofer.

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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