Port Washington residents have been lucky to have Gail’s Stride Rite shoe store on Main Street. Gail’s Stride Rite has been in Port Washington for a dozen years. Owner Frank Petriello opened the business on Jan. 1, 2004. Before that, he was a manager of Jimmy’s Shoes for 14 years. “Before that I worked at Shoes & More, the shoe store before Jimmy’s, in the 1980s,” said Frank.
Frank and his son Juliano run the store. Juliano has worked at the store for 10 years. There are no other employees, though in years past, Frank employed up to 10 people.
Service and fitting are their specialties. “We pride ourselves on our exceptional service and our ability to fit children’s shoes properly,” said Frank. “A big part of our business are babies getting fitted for their first pair of shoes.”
Gail’s Stride Rite also carries adult shoes, boots, sneakers and orthotics and has a thermal imaging machine to custom-fit the orthotics to your feet. “We offer this service and can guide you into the right orthotics for your feet,” said Frank. “We offer Aetrex Orthotics, which run about $65 for a custom pair.”
Gail’s Stride Rite carries all the popular brands of shoes such as Uggs, Converse, New Balance, Nike, Steve Madden, Merrell and more. Frank can order what you want if he doesn’t have your size as well.
While the store is doing well, there has been a decrease in business in the past few years. “Unfortunately, in the last six or seven years, we’ve seen a rapid decline in business,” said Frank. “Part of the problem is lack of parking. Customers circle around the block looking for a spot and if they don’t get one, they leave.”
Another factor is changing demographics of the town. “As my customers’ families grow up, the business isn’t being replaced in the same numbers.”
Rent in Port is also an issue. “The rents haven’t gone down, of course,” said Frank.
Several years ago, on any given afternoon, the store had a waiting list of 10 or more customers. Now, the waiting lists are not needed as frequently. “Customers used to drop their kids off to put their name on the list while they went to find a spot,” said Frank.
Frank has a loyal following of customers, though, who come for the exceptional service and the professional fitting.
“We depend on the repeat-customer, and most come back because of our service and ability to fit shoes properly,” said Frank.
Gail’s Stride Rite is located at 9 Main St. and is open seven days a week. The store is open 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. every weekday. On weekends, the store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information call 516-883-8800.