The owners of Searle’s Shoes are celebrating a special anniversary. Google Maps image

Downtown Courtenay fixture Searle’s Shoes celebrates anniversary

When Derek Newnes and his wife Cathy walked into Searle’s Shoes 25 years ago, they knew it was the right fit for the next step in their careers.

“I never even really thought that was 25 years (ago),” said Newnes who purchased the store following a 23-and-a-half year long career as a buyer of shoes and accessories for Woodward’s Department Stores.

When the department store was going into receivership, Newnes realized it was time for him to find another job.

“I decided I better go out and buy myself a job,” he said with a laugh.

After talking to some peers, he found out Searle’s Shoes was up for sale.

The couple purchased the store in May 1994 and began to grow their inventory.

“There’s always changes – nothing stands still. But in terms of styles, people think they change, but they really don’t – it’s more of a newer version of a shoe.”

Fashion is cyclical, noted Newnes, and right now, he said ‘70s-styles of shoes are in, but added major cycles fluctuate about every 10 years.

“When I started, ladies dress shoes were very important to have in store.”

While the couple has owned the store for the last quarter-century, Searle’s has been a downtown Courtenay fixture since 1918, beginning with owner Jas E. Aston who had been running a shoe repair on the premise and decided to carry a small stock of shoes.

The business was sold a handful of times between 1929 and 1993, even exchanging hands during the early 1950s with Sid Williams, whom he partnered with A.T Searle, and Archie Welsh to purchase the store.

Throughout the past 25 years, Newnes explained what keeps the store successful – particularly with the internet and online shopping – is listening to their customers and maintaining a high level of customer service.

He said he understands the appeal of ‘fast fashion,’ but he aims to sell better quality products that will last a long time.

In celebration of their anniversary, Searle’s Shoes is hosting a birthday sale starting on May 7 with all of their footwear offered at 20 per cent off. Searle’s Shoes is located at 250 Fifth St. in Courtenay.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Courtenay woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

Fundraisers in place long-time Comox Valley chef

Peter Bradley recovering from emergency brain surgery

Last Simms Park concert of the season to double as a food bank fundraiser

Bring a donation for the food bank to the My Generation concert, Sunday, Aug. 25

City of Courtenay adds pickleball courts Martin Park lacrosse box

Lacrosse, pickleball, and recreational ball hockey players in the Comox Valley can… Continue reading

VIDEO: Courtenay woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read