If a person buys a $150 pair of Nike shoes and returns them to a major retail shoe store, they are not resold. They are turned over to a wholesaler who offers them to flea market vendors or other resale merchants.
Now a Pacific man, who has built a business with flea market and Internet sales of name-brand sports shoes that have been returned to a store at heavily discounted prices, has opened a store in Downtown Pacific.
Charlie Bullington opened Yo Shoes and Stuff at 131 E. St. Louis St. April 1, offering sports shoes for adult men and women.
Bullington, who has sold the same shoes at area flea markets and on the Internet for five years, said a store offers the chance to display a larger selection of the shoes, which he buys from a wholesale supplier.
His wholesaler offers him many times more women’s shoes than men’s.
“Men will tolerate a small imperfection in shoes and just wear them,” Bullington said. “But women return shoes at the drop of a hat. In my warehouse, there are seven times as many returned women’s shoes as men’s.”
The store offers a mix of men’s shoes, size 9 to 14, and women’s shoes, size 6 to 11, that is about equal in the number of pairs, but the colors are more dramatic in the women’s section.
Lined on tables on each wall of the store are upward of 100 pairs of women’s shoes. Hot pink is a hot color, but there are shoes in lemon yellow, turquoise, tan, black and gray.
The tax is built into the sale price, which is close to half the full retail price.
Because Bullington does not have the boxes for the store-returned shoes, his St. Louis Street store is a rainbow of colors arranged by size on tables.
“People have to be able to see them to get the idea of what’s available,” he said.
Brands include Nike, New Balance, Adidas, Brooks and others. Prices are in the neighborhood of half of retail.
The store offers layaway plans with a $20 deposit and will hold the shoes for two weeks.
Bullington also sells the shoes on several Internet sites, such as Dusty Attic.
The new business joins a community of resale shops on St. Louis and First streets in Old Town, including Nettie Suze Home Furnishings, Kaleidoscope Consignment Shop, the Pacific Antique Mall, and Deanna Christine’s Gallery.
For more information, contact Bullington at 636-234-6360.