Corbin's Footwear

Since 2004, Bob Simcox, owner of Corbin’s Footwear, has paid close attention to the retail apparel and footwear industry. His most important observation has been that the footwear industry is subject to rapid changes in consumer preferences and the success local/regional industries. Although demand for rugged outdoor and occupational footwear is relatively less sensitive to changing fashion trends, as these product lines are primarily classic styles which emphasize functionality and performance, consumer preferences and fashion trends are becoming relatively more important even in these lines.

Corbin’s Footwear customers for work-related footwear include people employed in law enforcement and emergency services, agriculture, healthcare, construction, industry, military services, and other occupations that need high-performance and protective footwear as a critical tool for the job. Fortunately for Mr. Simcox, unlike the outdoor market, the work market has year-around demand.

Companies have become more employee-oriented and have begun to offer more programs for workers. One such program involves work boots. Companies will often purchase work boots for employees as needed or once a year. The companies will often make deals with a specific retailer to receive a discount if all the workers go to a specific retailer. This increasing trend is one of the many factors contributing to the growing demand for quality work footwear for all blue collar workers, particularly those involved in the Marcellus Shale industry in Corbin’s immediate market area.

Mr. Simcox initially met with the Lock Haven Small Business Development Center (SBDC) staff in 2004 when he started the business, and has returned for their assistance over the years throughout his various stages of growth and development. Like many small business entrepreneurs, Mr. Simcox has experienced his share of growing pains along his journey as a small business owner. His most recent hurdle was aimed at attempting to take advantage of purchasing the building that his store is located in, where he had been leasing space for the past few years. After meeting with the Lock Haven SBDC Director near the end of 2011 with his expansion plans, a consulting engagement began to help achieve Bob’s goal of purchasing the commercial property.

With the SBDC’s input, a formal, professional business plan was created by the client to provide to potential lenders. The business plan provided a solid foundation for Corbin’s Footwear to build upon as growth continues. Mr. Simcox received the funding for his venture in April 2012, nearly eight months after meeting with the SBDC Director to begin project planning. Ultimately he secured loans from Jersey Shore State Bank and the Clinton County Revolving Loan Fund program, totaling $575,000.

Corbin’s Footwear has developed into a successful retail operation and a recognizable name throughout the community. Mr. Simcox has ensured a reputation of quality and high customer satisfaction, and through his hard work he has made certain that his shoe and apparel store will continue to thrive for years to come.