‘Sole’ man marks 30 years Uptown
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 01:09
Oxford sees a number of businesses come and go, but Oxford Shoe, located at 123 W High St., recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Marty Zajbel, owner of the store, purchased Oxford Shoe on September 1, 1983.
Originally from Beavercreek, Ohio, Zajbel said he chose to start a business in a town like Oxford because of its size.
“I wanted a business that allows me to stay small and independent,” Zajbel said. “I really didn’t want to compete in a big city.”
As an Army Veteran, Zajbel considered attending Miami University, which influenced his choice of location.
Starting off as a shoe repair store for the first ten years, Oxford Shoe now sells popular brands like Red Wing, Birkenstock, Sperry and also does catalogue sales for any of the brands they carry. Although they still repair shoes upon request, most revenue is made through retail.
“A lot of my business is retail, any shoe repair is limited to college girls’ high heels,” Zajbel said.
For Zajbel, the shoe business made sense.
“I just liked the looks and the smells of the shoe repair business,” Zajbel said.
From selling Christmas cards and cherries as a child to being a suits salesman, Zajbel said he has been interested in sales all his life.
Zajbel’s wife, Agnes, said she enjoys helping with repairs because of all the people it has given her the chance to meet.
“We love the community; the people are very nice,” Zajbel said.
Anne Pratt, an Oxford resident since 1957, said she has been a regular customer of Oxford Shoe, and loves the way it has benefitted her and the community.
“I’ve been coming here for as long as I can remember,” Pratt said.
Zajbel said he is proud to be the owner of one of the oldest surviving stores in town.
An increase in online shopping has brought in a lot of revenue for Oxford Shoe, according to Zajbel, who jokingly likes to call the UPS driver one his biggest customers.
According to Zajbel, though residents of Oxford and neighboring towns support his business, Miami students never stop coming in.
Miami senior Andrea Eam said she loves Uptown’s shopping diversity, and she would like to see Oxford Shoe stick around.
“I am happy to know that Oxford Shoe is celebrating thirty years,” Eam said. “I wish other stores and restaurants [would] also last longer.”