Person of the Week

Mark Waldman

President, Laurie's Shoes

We are able to combine enjoyment of the shoe business with enjoyment of community involvement…..  This is what service is all about! 

1.  What led you to the mission of President, Laurie’s Shoes?

My father had severe rheumatoid arthritis and was going to close the store back in 1976. I was away at college and he asked me what I wanted to do. If I did not return he could not manage and would have to close the store. I grew up in the business; it was part of my family and me.  The store was an outgrowth of family – not just a business. I felt I would stop school and manage for a year and then go back to school. I stayed for 36 years. I did graduate from Washington University at night and received my Bachelor of Science.  Afterwards, I went on to the New York University Institute of Retail Management.  All the while, I kept running the store. This was a labor of LOVE!   Supporting the family business was life itself.

2.  What does this mission mean to you?

We are able to combine enjoyment of the shoe business with enjoyment of community involvement and generations of families who we have now served. We have five stores that are represented by staff who care about people. This is what service is all about! We pride ourselves in our expert fitting, customer service, a huge selection, and helping the community whenever possible. My brother Scott and my sister Patty are involved in the business and we have been together for over 30 + years.

To me, it is what business used to be about: families serving families – WOW!

 3.  What was your best day as a President, Laurie’s Shoes?

Our best days are always when clients come up to us and thank us for being here. This is not just a nice sounding phrase – we really enjoy when people come up to us at events, restaurants, social occasions, in our stores and say,  “I remember your Dad”…or “I had one of your Associates at one of my stores go the extra step to get my child or myself taken care of.” This way I always have best days…and if that slows down, then we are doing something wrong. This keeps us on our toes and excited everyday.

4.  What was your worst day as President of Laurie’s Shoes and how did you survive?

My worst day was in 2011, the loss of my mother, Joan Waldman, the matriarch of the family.  Also the loss of people I met and waited on when I just started out in the business.  I find out that a third generation family has lost their mother or father…and many were friends.

The fact mom was intimately involved in the business makes the stores’ mission very easy because I know what she would want. For the past sixty years, her presence was so strong and important.  It is like doing different things and knowing my mother would approve.