Sitting on a bench in his store, surrounded by shiny shoes, purses and accessories, Abraham Joseph, 65, keeps his eyes glued to the door.
“Edwin, there was a customer there,” Joseph said to an employee. The customer had already been assisted and was looking around. “He was just standing up there.”
Customer service like greeting guests the moment they walk in the door to Eric Comfort Shoes, Joseph said, has been the key to success. Opened in 1942, business at Eric’s locations, the first in Queens Village, has been a model of consistency over the past 76 years.
Joseph is the owner of the Williston Park location, now 10 years old, and has worked at Eric’s for more than 30 years.
A large portion of Eric’s sales are to repeat customers, some of whom travel from as far as Shirley, Riverhead and Manhattan for the “destination store,” Joseph said. Though all of Eric’s shoes are available for order online, the website and Joseph recommend taking the time to step through the doors to ensure every need is met.
“We sell shoes that old fashioned way,” Joseph said. “We measure the foot, we gauge comfort and we incorporate style.”
Wearing comfortable shoes is essential for personal care, including posture, gait and even maintaining a healthy nervous system, Joseph said.
Eric’s carries everything from $25 flip-flop thong sandals to $450 Mephisto Milton dress shoes and prominent brands like Clarks, Timberland, Wolverine and Rockport. Every shoe is custom fit to customers’ needs, including expertise in determining the width of feet like narrow or extra-wide, Joseph said.
“People look for all sizes and widths, brands names and competitive prices,” Joseph said. “That’s exactly what we do.”
Joseph has stayed with Eric’s for most of his professional life because of the customer service and sturdiness of the destination store, as he refers to it.
With competition from brick and mortar retail storefronts like Payless and Foot Locker as well as drive by Amazon to break into the footwear market, Eric’s is reliant on customer service and high-quality products to beat the competition.
“If you want to buy a comfortable shoe, you try it on,” Joseph said. “We help you do that, we make sure that you are leaving comfortable and looking your best.
“Once a customer comes here they always stay with us.”