Doug Pekarek, owner of Young Tootsies children’s shoe store in Barrington, also is known as The Shoe Guy. On March 7, the business had a grand reopening in its new location inside the Ice House Mall. It’s impossible to miss, right beside all of the restaurants. He talked to Barrington Life about why he is excited about the store’s rebirth.
How long have you been in the shoe business?
I started in the shoe business in 1976 in Chicago, working for Thom McAn Shoes.
Why did you want to work with children’s shoes?
Kids are fun to work with because you can joke and laugh with them and they are very honest about what they like and don’t like.
Why did you decide to open a store in Barrington?
I have worked in Barrington since 1984, managing another store that had existed in Ice House Mall. When that store closed its doors, I stayed in the shoe business. When an opportunity arose again in Barrington to work as a children’s shoe buyer for Tootsies, I jumped at the chance. A couple of years later, I bought the children’s business from them and opened as a separate business as Young Tootsies. Tootsies has been gone since February of 2005, and I thought it was time that I bring back Tootsies and add women’s shoes to my business. There are no shoe stores in Barrington and I felt it was time to have a hometown shoe store.
Do you have another location?
This is our only location as of now.
What is different about this store?
What makes our store different is that we are truly local. We aren’t corporate, which allows us to respond to our customers in a more immediate fashion. Our children’s shoes are name brands and we carry widths and arch supports. For ladies, we carry things from elegant evening shoes to the cutest comfort shoes on the market.
I am truly excited to have this opportunity to expand and remodel our store in a way that reflects the richness of Barrington with a spacious sales floor so that the children feel welcome as well as their mothers.