Serving Denville since 1987

It was the Spring of 1987 when If the Shoe Fits…was conceived.

Although Silvio Clemente had been working for IBM in various capacities he held to a dream of being in business for himself. Over several years, mention of this deeply desired dream would come up in conversation. Finally, while on a vacation in the Bahamas, the matter resurfaced again. Being apart from daily distractions we had the time to kick around a few ideas. The thought was that the new endeavor must involve a product or service which the public seemed to be crying out for, something outside the norm.

Helen- SilvioHaving a wide foot, it was a chore finding an attractive shoe in a wide width. Although there were attractive shoes available, and being a woman, I loved shoes, there was never a selection offered when it came to my size. Oh, one or two styles perhaps, but never a variety from which to choose. Wouldn’t it be great, (my thought) if you could shop in a store in which every shoe you saw and pointed to came in a wide width?

We began to seriously explore this possibility and with the perchance notion of its actually coming about we needed to come up with a name for it. For obvious reasons it was decided that the store would be called If the Shoe Fits…

Upon returning home the preliminary work began. Inquiries into the world of Fashion brought us the knowledge that soon there was to be a Regional Shoe Show in Manhattan. Most shoe companies attend these shows to display their new styles of shoes and it is at these events that you see spread out before you all of the latest shoes for the upcoming season, each in its variety of colors and patterns.

We hurried from booth to booth asking the question: “Do you have shoes for ladies in wide widths”? The answer returned from many was an astounding “yes”. To our amazement, there were many styles available, from many Companies, and in a wide range of quality and price. We arrived home with our arms full of catalogs and ideas.

It was our intention to market ourselves as something different to those ladies, ones often overlooked and rudely passed over by other stores, and to treat them in a special way by servicing them in a pleasant setting and thus we designed our shop in the style of an elegant boutique.

If the Shoe FitsGorgeous fabrics and fine furnishings were selected, not forgetting an inventory of handpicked quality shoes, and thus in the Fall of 1987 If the Shoe Fits… opened its door widely to a much anticipated public. It was a challenge, not knowing if or how it would be received. But with some advertising and by word of mouth, If the Shoe Fits…became a fixture in the Town of Denville, New Jersey. Within a relatively short time word of our store spread to many towns throughout Morris County and other far reaching towns and villages, extending even into New York City.

At the time we opened for business there were two other shoe stores in Town. We were the only ones with specialty sizes and it became evident that we had much to learn about properly fitting shoes since many of our customers had foot ailments or difficult to fit sizes. We obtained books and talked with manufacturers who specialized in this area.

In the coming years we were attending seminars and we learned not only about shoes but also got an education in feet and foot health. Learning to recognize what pair of shoes was right for which pair of feet. There was much to learn about fitting shoes and, for Silvio, it became a serious career. Silvio earned a certification in Pedorthics, becoming a CPed, (a professional shoe fitter).

Marrying this new field of knowledge with his background in engineering, Silvio became a master at making people feel comfortable in shoes. He passed away in December 2012, but not before sharing his knowledge and concern for others by training his employees to do for customers what he most enjoyed doing. Because of the legacy left by Silvio, customers still come from miles around to our store to be catered to by those employed here.

Due to its fine reputation, If the Shoe Fits… continues to operate, having endured throughout many economic ups and downs, even surviving the major catastrophe which almost destroyed it, that of Hurricane Irene in 2011.

We hope you’ll visit us and see for yourself what we are all about.
As told by Helen Clemente

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