The owner of Willer’s Shoes arrived in Sturgis in 1972: doors open Friday


STURGIS — In 1972, Todd Maynard arrived in Sturgis, a new salesman at Willer’s Shoes. He was hired by Harry and Leone Willer who started the business in 1934. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Maynard’s career at Willer’s which he bought in 1989.

On Friday, Maynard’s staff, led by store manager Elizabeth Denman, her daughter, celebrate Todd.

Willer customers and the public are invited from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the open house. The store will be open during normal business hours from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

While Maynard started off primarily selling shoes at Willer, over the years a lot has changed.

“We have become a department store”, Maynard. “We evolved not to disappear.”

They now offer women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories, gifts, baby items.

And shoes.

Being independent, Willer’s is able to offer a wide range of the best shoe brands.

“We’re really a shoe store,” Maynard said. “We don’t have a brand on the shelf that we had 20 years ago.”

Now they carry Birkenstock, Ugg, Taos, Hoka to name a few.

“We listen to our customers and get what our customers want,” Maynard said. “We are a level one shoe store. We only have the best.

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Denman and some college-age employees keep things fresh for younger customers.

“We’re on top of the trends,” Denman said.

And while 16-21 year olds aren’t necessarily comfortable with a “sit and fit” shoe store, they get used to it and keep coming back.

“We want them to get what they want and like what they buy,” Denman said. “When they like what they buy, it makes me very happy.”

As the staff welcomes the 50th anniversary, it will be a bittersweet celebration. Diana, wife and mother of the Maynard family, lost a battle with cancer a year ago in October.

For more information on Willer’s Shoes, visit their Facebook page or shop at 116 W. Chicago Road.


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