In 1948, thirty year old J. Lyle Kimsey opened Kimsey’s Shoe’s. Kimsey’s Shoe’s was a Family shoe store in many ways. In one way it was a store that could fit “everyone in the family – from the youngest child to the parents”. On the other hand though, it was a store run by the Kimsey family – who called it their second home. When any of the seven Kimsey Kids would go to the store, they experience the same warm feeling as they did when walking into their own home. It wasn’t until 1970 that Kimsey’s Shoe’s became Brown’s Shoe Fit of Manhattan at the historic 311 Poyntz location, where Brown’s continues to sell shoes to this day and carry on the Kimsey’s Shoe’s ideals of how important family is, and to treat every customer like so.
In the summer of 1911, a 9 foot wide front space became available for rent next to Shenandoah’s Security State Bank, and Mr. Brown started his first shoe store with $1700 in operating capital. Mr. Brown decided that if a fellow could start a business in a 4-foot wide stairway and do well, then he could open a store in a 9-foot wide front and achieve success. He ordered 1,100 empty boxes, and had his label put on them to give his customers the appearance of a greater stock of shoes. He had an agreement with a manufacturer, that he would wire his re-orders for the week on Saturday nights, and he would receive his order by Tuesday morning, so that he could replenish his scantily stocked shoe store!
Mr. Brown’s shoe business grew by sharing his own hard work and capital. He believed that any person should have an opportunity to own and operate their own business! When he recognized that someone deserved an opportunity, he would make them a partner, and loan the necessary money to get started in the retail shoe business.Mr. Brown’s business philosophies were a great success, and at the time of his death in 1958, the chain of Brown’s Shoe Fit Company stores had grown to 37 stores in 4 states, with much of the company owned by the people he believed in!
Today, Brown’s Shoe Fit Company is owned by Brown’s management and has over 80 stores in 12 midwestern states. These are modern stores that feature the very finest in quality, comfortable footwear. Today’s management operates the company with the same philosophies and principles that Mr. Brown initiated decades ago.
Here at the Manhattan store, we’re a company that operates on both old traditions and new methods. Find out more about who we are, come visit us today.