Shoesday Tuesdays: Eco Efforts Lead to Green for Pedestrian Shops
Footwear Plus MagazineShoesday Tuesdays - Sponsored by WSA  
For Richard Polk, going green and helping the community isn't just good for the earth—it's good for business. This Earth Day, April 22, marks the 45th time his two-store comfort chain, Pedestrian Shops, in Boulder, CO, has collected gently worn footwear to distribute to local charity groups. Customers who donate receive a 10 percent discount on their next purchase. "Boulder is a great green community," Polk says. "Our customers care that we care, and it's reflected in our market share."
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Pedestrian Shop store front
Pedestrian Shops has collected 35,000 pairs since it first started holding its twice-annual shoe drive 23 years ago (the other drive is held during the Thanksgiving season). Polk recalls the moment inspiration struck: "One day a customer was laughing about how much they loved buying shoes and that they could open a shop with the hardly-worn shoes in their closet," he recalls. "We had previously enjoyed conducting an anti-pollution campaign, so we decided to try a Shoe Drive."

Reusing shoes isn't Polk's only earth-friendly endeavor. The shop's downtown location is also one of the few solar-powered footwear stores in the country. Lacking the roof space to install panels on its own location, the store is leasing the roof of a nearby building, providing clean energy to that building as well and preventing 28,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year from entering the atmosphere.

Shoe Drives and Solar Panels
Left: Pedestrian Shop employees pitch in during one of its bi-annual shoe drives.
Right: Richard Polk, owner, Pedestrian Shops.

The shop also hosts a yearly "Show Some Sole" anti-pollution campaign, with prizes awarded to Boulder residents who put the brakes on driving and walk to their destination at least 10 times in a two-month period. Polk believes the store's green and giving-is-good efforts pay back enormous dividends. "We are pretty sure that the ingredients in The Pedestrian Shops secret sauce include clarity of niche (regarding comfort and quality), great selection and we care about what our customers care about." —Audrey Goodson



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