The Shoe Hutch was established in November 1977 by Leon Davenport, a career shoe store manager, and his wife Polly — a true “Mom and Pop” retail operation. It continues today as a “bricks and mortar” retail shop located in downtown Corvallis, a vibrant college town of about 60,000 people in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Their son, Tim Davenport, was the first employee of the firm, starting out as a stockboy and soon starting to work on the floor.
Polly retired from the store in the 1990s and Leon retired on January 1, 2000, selling the store to son Tim and his wife Angie, who eventually parted ways, with Angie leaving the store at the end of 2015. Valuable help in daily operations is added by manager Matt Hector, himself a third generation (!!!) “shoe store kid” and now the father of two college boys.
The third full-time employee is James Kephart, who has a background in electronics retailing and who was poached from a local deli more than a decade ago due to his intelligence and helpful demeanor. He now knows the retail footwear industry inside and out, it goes without saying.
The Shoe Hutch is a little unique in that we have shoe store dogs collecting belly rubs from customers and sniffing around for food crumbs. Something like 7 dogs have “worked” here over the years (and no, we’ve never had a shoe chewed up!). Our current cast of critters includes Official Store Dog Benny Banana (Tim’s golden retriever), Assistant Store Dog Huckleberry Finn (Matt’s yellow lab), and Junior Store Dog Indiana Jones (James’ bluehealer-cattledog). We hope you like dogs as much as we do, but if not, just let us know and we’ll keep them away from you.
Company success has been based upon the store’s broad selection of comfort footwear and its knowledgeable sales staff — trained in the “old school” art of shoe fitting and practitioners of a low pressure, non-commissioned selling approach.
The Shoe Hutch remains an independent, single store operation that puts together its own unique merchandise assortment by working directly with wholesale representatives of shoe manufacturers. The Shoe Hutch crew tries to keep close to trends in the shoe industry within its niche of moderate to upper-moderate priced comfort-casual footwear.