Ed. note—We received this wonderful post from April Peterson, co-owner of River Rock Outfitter in Downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, and she agreed to let us publish it. Coffee, baked goods and Oboz—YUM!
Cover image: Sisters MJ and Andi Stone outside of Agora Downtown, the coffee shop/bakery they own. All images courtesy April Peterson.
In 2015, Keith and I attended our first EORA show in Greenville, South Carolina. We had just opened River Rock Outfitter, a specialty outdoor store in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was exciting and overwhelming. As we walked the floor, we were overwhelmed by the number of brands and choices. How do you decide what your customers want when you don’t yet know exactly who your customers are?
A Chance Encounter with Oboz Footwear
At the Oboz Footwear booth, we met a humble, passionate man who explained the brand, the technology that sets Oboz apart. His enthusiasm was contagious. He was friendly and fun, and we had no idea we were speaking to John Connelly, the founder and President and former CEO of Oboz Footwear. (This was the first—and probably last—time we have met the CEO of one of the brands we carry).
This was the start of our love for Oboz.
Fredericksburg, Meet Oboz Footwear
We began to stock Oboz after that trip, and soon many of the business owners came to us complaining about lower back and foot pain. Small business owners work long hours and need good, stable shoes to get them through the day.
We introduced them to Oboz shoes and the O Fit Insole, and soon we learned that many of our customers appreciated Oboz the same way we did.
Then one downtown business owner took things to the next level.
Coffee, Scones, Oboz
We have a local coffee shop named Agora Downtown that’s owned by sisters MJ and Andi Stone. MJ has a savvy business mind and Andi is an incredible baker. Together they have created one of the favorite local hang-out-spots.
Early last year, MJ was suffering from recurring back pain, and her chiropractor confirmed that it was from standing all day at the coffee shop.
When she asked us for a recommendation for a sturdy, supportive and durable shoe, we pointed her to the Oboz Sawtooth II Lows. Why? Because the O Fit Insole would support her feet in a neutral position and help her maintain good posture throughout the day. Plus, this is the shoe that can go the distance on the Appalachian Trail; surely it could crush a week (and then a month, and then a year) in a busy bakery.
She’s a convert. Not only has she stopped visiting the chiropractor, she’s now a proud owner of the Sapphire Low.
Spreading the Oboz Love
MJ noticed that her baristas and kitchen staff were having similar issues with their feet and backs. So, the sisters offered their staff either a Christmas bonus or a new pair of OBOZ shoes from River Rock. Twelve of Agora’s staff members are now happy owners of Oboz shoes!