Destination Dardano’s

Ryan, Brittany, Dillon and David Dardano inside the new Dardano’s Shoes store.

If you’re looking for a store that has plenty to offer, Dardano’s Shoes has you covered in more ways than one with its new location in Broomfield, CO.

Where should we begin? How about on the outside, where there is a drive-thru coffee shop. Or the inside, where there is a full-service café to go along with 14,000 sq. feet of modern footwear retail. There is a wide variety of brands offered, dynamic merch displays and an engaged staff.

Step inside and you are greeted with high ceilings, modular displays, shop-in-shops from multiple leading brands. Oh and a shoe repair shop, too, for good measure. 

 “I am confident that this is one of the most premier footwear retail environments in the country,” Dillon Dardano, VP of fourth generation, family-owned Dardano’s Shoes, proudly says.

In addition to a one-of-a-kind HOKA concept shop inside the store space (it’s a large structure featuring the full range of HOKA products, including apparel), Dardano’s has shop-in-shop concepts from brands such as Dansko, Keen, Naot, Mephisto, Taos, Birkenstock, Oofos, Altra, Oboz, Blundstone and more. The store boasts custom modular retail fixtures from Visplay, Opto, and Creative Displays, and the full-service specialty coffee shop and drive-thru is in partnership with local business Queens City Coffee.

Dardano’s already had one popular store in the Denver area — now it has two. 

“Our goal for this new store was to really emphasize ‘Destination Based Retail,’ creating an environment where consumers can engage with a multitude of products all in one place,” says Dardano. “We want to be the destination for consumers looking for great shoes, and a destination for our brand partners’ biggest selections to be seen.”

He continues, “This new store environment is extremely open with high ceilings and the overall size of the building really takes people by surprise when they walk in. We have gotten a lot of positive comments about how beautiful and cool the overall environment is. It has been fun to see how much people are drawn to our HOKA shop and the Queen City Coffee shop that we have in our space.”

The new store includes a repair business — something the store has a long history of. Dardano’s started as a shoe repair shop in 1938. 

“My great grandfather Frank Dardano (a cobbler by trade) emigrated from Italy and settled in Denver in the late 1930s,” says Dillon Dardano. “We were primarily a shoe repair business until the 1970s. It was at that time that we started to branch into footwear. Shoe repair is still a core element of our business.”

The most common types of repairs at Dardano’s, where there is a full team of skilled cobblers, are heel and sole replacements, cleaning/shining/refurbishing, patching and sewing, orthopedic modifications, and stretching shoes that are too small. The retailer also has a shoe repair website that offers its full breadth of repair services online. 

But where the store truly excels, according to Dardano, is in its product offerings. “We hang our hat on the tradition of being a sit-and-fit comfort footwear retailer,” he says, describing the business as a “premier footwear destination.” Key categories for Dardano’s include: athletic, outdoor, work, comfort, dress and travel.  “We focus on making connections with our customers though ensuring our products help make them feel better on their feet,” Dardano says. “The most critical categories in recent years, would of course be athletic and leisure wear, but we’re seeing a resurgence in demand for more traditional dress type products.”

The store’s unique HOKA concept shop.

The first Dardano’s store off of Colorado Blvd. in Denver is a space that has been expanded a couple times over the past decade, but the family business was eager to expand and design a new store space. The Broomfield location is located in what was formerly a bank (which is where the drive-thru coffee window comes in) with the retail space basically built from scratch. The process began in June 2021 and a new shop opened a little over a year later.

The new store is a half-hour drive away from the existing store. One serves the southern portion of Denver and the new store is more on the northern portion of Denver. “It’s a new market,” says Dardano. “We are excited to expand our footprint and increase our audience.”

 The team did a lot of research, touring other stores locally and nationally to come up with new and engaging concepts that remained true to the Dardano’s brand identity. The design is intentional, with brand focal points that feature men’s and women’s styles and a centralized point of sale. Modular setups also allow the staff to move and change the look of the shop as needed. 

“We are extremely grateful to have been able to finance our new store, through having cashflow from our operations,” says Dardano. “We have been able to adapt and expand our footprint over recent years with our e-commerce presence. In a big way, the e-commerce growth helped to provide the resources to give us the opportunity to open another physical location. We enjoy being an online retailer, but we still believe that the key to the better footwear business is the ability to provide an in-person environment where customers can engage with a staff that has great, knowledge, service and attention to detail. Every pair of shoes and every set of feet is different so having the ability to be properly fitted provides the best end experience for the consumer and the brands.”

Dardano’s Shoes aims to not only support brands that manufacture high quality products, but also to carry a good range of each brand’s products — to make Dardano’s a destination for the brands it carries.

“We’ve got a lot of really great partners that we’ve worked with over the years and we’re excited about this as an opportunity to grow those relationships and to grow their brand accessibility too,” says Dardano. 

Brand partners are impressed.

Of the new Broomfield location, Taos COO Bill Langrell told us, “Dardano’s beautiful new, spacious yet non-traditional store is a homerun.” Langrell notes that at a time “when many retailers are trimming down their assortments, Dardano’s is giving the shopper an extraordinary assortment.” 

Beyond the aesthetics, Langrell lauds the store for its high-quality staff. “Dardano’s hires experienced people and equips them with the higher standards necessary to qualify the needs of each person, giving the customer a great experience,” he says. “It is really an exceptional group of people that makes this work.”

The family nature of the Dardano’s business is something that stands out to Dansko sales rep John Moran. “The Dardano family is perhaps one of the kindest, most grounded and tight knit families I have ever known,” he says. “The business reflects that. Dardano’s treats their customers kindly, with compassion and honesty and Dardano’s stands behind the products they sell. Dardano’s has huge amounts of equity built up over the years with their customers. People know it is the destination in Denver for footwear and service. Dardano’s does the same things with their vendors. The relationship is built on trust and goodwill given out both ways. They are a favorite customer of most, if not all brands who do business with them.”  

 Dardano’s Shoes is not only excited as a family business to be growing its brand, but is also thankful, Dillon Dardano notes. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to grow and open this store, and that’s a reflection of our customers and a lot of our team members that have helped to build the brand that we are today,” he says. “And we are grateful for our brand partners for how they participated to make this happen. Across those three facets, the new store here today is the result of a lot of collaboration and a lot of effort from a lot of different people.”

“We want to be the destination for consumers looking for great shoes, and a destination for our brand partners’ biggest selections to be seen.”