Early this morning, Allan had to skillfully maneuver the Soles4Souls RV inside the exhibit hall at the Gaylord Convention Center in Nashville. By skillfully, I mean he had to go down a narrow ramp, make a sharp right turn where no RV should be turning and then drive inside the exhibit hall past pillars and displays. The photo shows how it took four people to decide where to put the RV. All is well, and for the next three days, the RV will be in an air conditioned environment, free from hail and humidity. It may not want to hit the open road again!
Archive for June, 2009
Friday was a fun day as we met some of the 600 employees at Thomas Nelson Publishing in Nashville. Thomas Nelson is a major Christian publisher. By major, I mean this publisher has normally reserved Christian authors casually adding “Oh, by the way, I just had a book published by Thomas Nelson…” into their conversation with everyone they meet.
Not that I would ever do that, since I’ve had several books rejected by Thomas Nelson. (They were picked up by other publishers though!)
The employees had a shoe drive for Soles4Souls and also came outside on their lunch break to have a tour of the Soles4Souls RV. Thanks everyone, for recycling your shoes with Soles4Souls!
Foot Solutions customers are the best! We were at the Dayton store owned by Steve and Barbara Smith, where we met several of their regular customers. What surprised me was that several customers came to the store, heard about our shoe drive and then drove home to return with their donated shoes. That’s loyalty! Allan left the event wearing a pair of Chung Shi shoes, which most Foot Solutions stock. These unique shoes help build core strength and stability, as neglected and underdeveloped muscles are put to work. This results in a strengthening and toning of the abs, buttocks, back, legs and feet. After wearing them for 10 minutes, Allan felt his abs and buttocks were in great shape! Steve and Barbara demonstate Foot Solutions’ motto: “Better health through your feet”. We watched them work with several customers who came in, complaining about pain in their feet. Those same customers left with new shoes and smiles on their faces!
Many people think Allan and I only provide good looks and charm to the RV tour as we promote this shoe charity. (We have neither!) Actually, besides appearing at stores, meeting corporate sponsors and speaking at events, we also have some down-to-earth physical work to do. Since so many people come inside the RV, the carpet was looking less than pristine. We were overjoyed to find a car wash that offered a shampoo attachment. So now our RV carpet is in great shape for future guests.
Evidently Sammy Sole has some fans, since I’ve been requested to update his whereabouts. Here he is in the Big Apple!
Monday was an unusual day in Union Square, even by New York standards. Soles4Souls and Puma organized a unique used shoe drive. Puma created a giant red box, complete with a ladder and carpeted red steps to hold donated shoes. Then Puma representatives fanned the streets, asking New Yorkers to take off their shoes and donate them to Soles4Souls. In return, the person received a pair of Soles4Souls/Puma Flip Flops and a 30% discount off shoes in the Puma store. At first I was skeptical, but soon people
came up to the Soles4Souls table and handed us the shoes off their feet! The Puma reps even had a mega phone and alerted the crowd about the benefits of donating their shoes. It worked! We had a great response from New Yorkers who helped us as a shoe charity, and also recycled their shoes.
Last week we were privileged to be part of Eneslow’s 100th Anniversary celebration. There was great conversation, scrumptious dumplings and snazzy music. Congratulations to 100 years of being an outstanding foot comfort center!
Many people say they find voice mail and automated service too impersonal. That’s not the case with Mike and Judy Topeka from the Foot Solutions store in Chester, NJ. They greet most customers by name, and make new customers feel right at home. Judy decorates the store with seasonal touches. We loved her door stopper depicting the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. I have the utmost admiration for Mike and his patience. He spent over two hours with one customer, and didn’t make her feel rushed at all. I wouldhave told her to “take it or leave it” after five minutes. I guess that’s why their store is so successful and I’m on the road with the Soles4Souls RV!
While at the Foot Solutions store in Chester, New Jersey, people have been coming by to donate shoes to Soles4Souls, the shoe charity. In fact, the response has been overwhelming! We have bags and bags of shoes that will be recycled by donating them to people in need around the world. Congratulations to Mike and Judy Topeka from Foot Solutions for organizing such a successful event. We even had three-year-old Jordan come by and donate a pair of her too-small shoes.
For the last few day, we’ve been in the three Eneslow stores owned by Bob Schwartz. Watching this dynamo help customers find the correct shoes for their foot problems is like watching a training video on “How to Give Outstanding Service”. While Bob moves as fast as a hummingbird flaps its wings, he still makes every customer feel special. Whether joking around with a New Yorker with an attitude, or helping a shy elderly woman, he listens, cajoles, and 99% of the time finds a shoe that solves their foot problem. Allan and I watched in awe as he kept up a non-stop pace of helping customers for hours at a time.