Left to Right: Mr. Brown’s Son-in-Law, Morris Hamilton, Win Brown, Mr. Brown’s son, Sam Brown, Galen Ramo, Beverly McCord Lyden, and Elaine Barton Ruth inside of the Shenandoah store, 1941.
Win Brown came to the small Southwestern Iowa community of Shenandoah in 1909, where he worked for two years at the Andrews Dry Goods Company as a window trimmer and show card artist. One day he was reading the Dry Goods Economist magazine about a man from back East who had opened a shoe store in a four-foot wide abandoned stairway and was doing quite well.
In the summer of 1911, a 9 foot wide front space became available for rent next to Shenandoah’s Security State Bank, and Mr. Brown started his first shoe store with $1,700 in operating capital.
Mr. Brown worked diligently at the shoe store during the day and at night he would pack up a stock of shoes and call door to door to the country folks around the area.
Mr. Brown’s hard work paid off, and by the first of February in 1913, Mr. Brown’s net worth was $6,000. When his three-year lease expired next to Security State Bank, he moved his store to 611 West Sheridan Avenue, where the Shenandoah store is still located today.
Mr. Brown’s shoe business grew by sharing his own hard work and capital. He believed that any person should have an opportunity to own and operate their own business. When he recognized that someone deserved an opportunity, he would make them a partner and loan them the necessary money to get started in the retail shoe business.
Today, Brown’s Shoe Fit Company is owned by Brown’s management and has 78 stores in 12 midwestern states. These stores feature the very finest in quality, comfortable footwear. After over 100 years, Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. operates with the same philosophies and principles that Mr. Brown initiated decades ago.
Brown’s offers self-driven individuals this same opportunity; to manage their own store upon successful completion of the training program. Every manager becomes a vested partner in Brown’s Shoe Fit, owning a share of their store, and the opportunity to invest in more Brown’s stores throughout twelve states.