Benders Profiled In Shoe Retailing Today Magazine

Benders Shoes: Building on 50 Years, One Customer at a Time

Published in the May/June 2024 issue of Shoe Retailing Today. National Shoe Retailers Assoc.

The decades-long story began in the early 1970s when Roland and Angie Bender, in their fifties and living in the Minnesota twin cities, bought a shoe store in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, nearly 200 miles away. The couple had two teenage boys, a college-aged daughter, and an abundance of determination but no footwear experience. Roland was an insurance adjuster, and Angie worked in retail with Dayton Hudson for sever- al years, but they both had a taste for adventure. With the tip of an opportuni- ty from Angie’s brother, Les, who owned an independent shoe store in Virginia, Minnesota, the family took a giant leap and never looked back.

With the purchase of a 40-year-old, 2,000-sq.-ft. store in 1973, known as Stenborg Shoes, they went on to build a multigenerational business. The Benders were bolstered by a strong alliance with Brown Shoe Company, whose brands at the time supplied most of the best-selling styles and acted as a mentor by lending support with accounting and inventory management.
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