Sports shoe business opens at Lotopa
A shop that specialises in selling authentic international branded sports shoes has opened at Lotopa with its owners believing they have shoes to fit everyone.
Shoe Rack Samoa opened its doors to customers in Apia last Saturday and is owned by former Manu Samoa Captain Mahonri Schwalger and his wife Molly.
The couple had been planning their business’ opening over the last three to four months and the behind-the-scenes work included customer surveys on the most sought-after shoes and the right sizes.
Mrs Schwalger said the demand for sports shoes in Samoa is very high, especially big size rugby shoes.
“The majority of our sports people can’t find their right size because we have been studying and found out that Pacific people including Samoans need big sizes like size 13, size 14 upwards,” she said.
“Most rugby players and other players in different kinds of sports used or even look for those big sizes and even children who are in college and other school age 15 wear these big sizes.”
Confirming the demand for bigger size sports shoes such as size 15, Mrs Schwalger said they were sold out on the day of their opening.
“So when we opened our new small shop last week, we had the size 15 but it was sold out on the same day and that’s how we know that the demand is very high for our sports people and it’s a good start for our business.”
Her husband’s participation in the rugby academy program has also revealed parents’ increasing demands for quality sports shoes for their children, says Mrs Schwalger.
“It goes well with my husband's rugby academy as we see lots of parents try to look for their kid’s shoes during competition and big games so we discover that it is something that is much needed and that’s why we have this shop specialize for shoes.
“Our main supplier is the Rebel Sport in New Zealand, we went through them and they supply all our shoes and also Silver Fern in New Zealand as well as they supply all the equipment that we have.”
Mrs Schwalger said that they were surprised to see a sale on their first day of opening as they didn’t think Samoan people really love shoes.
“People are still coming to buy shoes especially rugby players and we notice some zumba people starting to come and buy their shoes to exercise during their zumba time,” she said.
“We have walking shoes, crossfit shoes, any types of sport shoes, rugby boots both touch rugby and rugby union with the different brands including Nike, Puma, Adidas and others.”
To ensure affordability for ordinary citizens the family-run shop is keeping their sporting shoes price range below $400 according to Mrs Schwalger.
She also said that depending on the success of their company, in the future they could consider sponsoring teams with their form of branding.