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Columbus Business First. Shop Talk. - Jun 05, 2009

Columbus Business First
Shop Talk
by Doug Buchanan
June 5, 2009

Italian leather takes center stage at independent shoe retailer.

A long-time shoe seller in Central Ohio is getting a boost from the Italian government for a promotion it's holding.

Easton Shoes is taking advantage of an offer from the Italian Trade Commission to help defray expenses of promoting the store's lines of Italian-made shoes. Co-owner Lenny Comeras said the government agency is contributing an undisclosed percentage of the costs for a private reception June 11 and decorations, promotional materials and advertising for public events culminating in a trunk show June 13 featuring Thierry Rabotin shoes.

Easton Shoes, founded in 1954 by Comeras' father, Ruby, and business partner Bill Easton, has been carrying several lines of Italian footwear since Lenny and his wife, Marcia, accompanied several other independent retailers on an Italian Trade Commission-paid trip to visit shoe factories and tanneries in that country a decade ago.

"We couldn't refuse," he said. "The shoes were gorgeous."

Their 10-employee store, in the Northwest Center on Henderson Road in northwest Columbus, carries Gardenia, Finest Figini, Thierry and other Italian lines.

"To compete in the market today, we felt there was a niche in carrying Italian shoes," Comeras said.
The store carries American-made shoes as well and has annual sales topping $1 million.

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