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Stan’s Fit For Your Feet Acquires Waxberg’s Walk Shoppe

The Sajdak family recently added to their store portfolio with the acquisition of Waxberg's.
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In a deal made between two third-generation family businesses, Wisconsin-based Stan’s Fit For Your Feet has purchased Waxberg’s Walk Shoppe, located in Niles, IL. 

The acquisition of Waxberg’s, which was announced in early July, came about organically, said Stan’s Fit For Your Feet owner Jim Sajdak. “We have always been looking to expand our business,” Sajdak told Footwear Insight. “This came up in the beginning of January with conversations between [Waxberg’s owner] Ron Waxberg and myself. We’ve known each other for years and the timing just seemed right for him and this time of his life. Coupled with our desire to expand, it was one of those things where all the pieces came together.”

Added Sajdak, “Our family business histories and philosophies are so similar that this acquisition is really a perfect match. When we connected with the Waxberg family, we immediately were interested in continuing their 102-year-old family business legacy.”  

The addition of Waxberg’s, which has been in operation since 1919, gives Stan’s an entry into the Chicago market. Niles, IL, where Waxberg’s is located, is a suburb of Greater Chicago located approximately 15 minutes northeast of O’Hare International Airport. There are three Stan’s Fit For Your Feet locations — in Brookfield, Glendale and Greenfield, WI, and the Sajdak family also owns two New Balance stores and a Vionic store in the Milwaukee area.

“There are only so many places in Wisconsin we can expand to,” said Sajdak. “The greater Chicago area is 9.6 million people.There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in that marketplace for our type of store.”

Waxberg’s will keep its name, and nearly all of the store’s employees are being retained. “We can appreciate the importance of the Waxberg’s brand name in the community,” said Sajdak. “We want to honor their legacy and keep the Waxberg’s name.  We are also really proud to have their team joining our family in an effort to continue Waxberg’s legacy.”

Added Sajdak, “We have retained 99% of their staff. The plan is to add more as needed. That was important for Ron Waxberg. He cares a lot about his staff. We’re fortunate to inherit, if you will, some really seasoned veterans in the sit-and-fit channel of our business.”

There is a lot of brand cross over between Stan’s and Waxberg’s, and both stores have Certified Pedorthists on staff and a strong focus on customer service and fitting. Sajdak expects the stores to learn from each other and share best practices across the board. And Stan’s has a marketing team that will aim to further enhance the Waxberg’s store image.

Sajdak’s four adult children are involved in the family business as well and all have earned their Certified Pedorthist credentials. Andy is the Director of Operations; David is this Director of Merchandising; Megan is the Director of Marketing; and Ben is Director of Community Outreach.

“I have great involvement from my family as the third generation and they are very excited about continuing our heritage and growing the business,” Sajdak said. 

The current state of the economy and the challenges being faced by independent retailers, coupled with a generation of owners facing succession plan decisions, means the marketplace is likely to see more acquisitions in the coming months. 

“There are a lot of opportunities out there for current store companies like ours to acquire additional stores,” noted Sajdak. “A lot may not have a succession plan; they may want to retire but they want to see their business carry on and be in good hands. We are seeing this across the country. There are a number of very strong regional companies in the process of acquiring more stores. This our first acquisition, but it may not be the last.”

Added Sajdak, “In today’s world you can’t stand still. To grow you can either add a store from scratch or you can look at acquisitions. But this is not an environment where you can stay stagnant. You have to keep working on keeping your business thriving from generation to generation.”

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Jul 22, 2022

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