New shoe boutique beckons in Edwards
EDWARDS – What do you get when you cross a stylish high-fashion minded woman with an experienced Vail retailer – and both of them love shoes? You get Becky Hernreich’s and Wendy Lew’s new shoe store, Well Heeled, located next to Marble Slab ice cream in the Edwards Corner shopping center. For Hernreich, opening and operating her own shoe store had been an idea she’d entertained for several years. “For a long time I have felt that Edwards could use a nice shoe store,” Hernreich says. “Women I know are always running to Denver to buy shoes for different events and occasions and I realized this was a niche I could fill.”Lew managed the Golden Bear in Vail Village for over 20 years and has worked as a private shopper for various clients. She was especially fond of working with the shoes in the Golden Bear’s catalogue, and becoming a partner rather than an employee in a retail store is something she’s wanted to do for a long time as well, Lew says. But when she and Hernreich chatted casually in Wal-Mart just over a year ago, neither one knew where their goals would take them, only that they were interested in the same thing.
‘A wonderful partner’Hernreich and Lew have known each other for 18 years, and Hernreich says she’s always respected Lew’s eye for fashion. When she casually told Lew her idea of opening a shoe store in Edwards, Lew loved the idea and said she could be ready to make a change. The two women agreed to think about it and get back with one another. The next day Lew called Hernreich with the idea of Well Heeled as the name of the store and the partnership was launched. It wasn’t until later that the women realized the WH in Well Heeled could also stand for Wendy and Hernreich.Hernreich is the mother of four children. Two are in college and her twins are sophomores in high school. She recently turned 50 and says she was at a crossroads in her life. “My children are getting older, I have more time now and I love shoes, especially glamorous shoes,” she says. Hernreich, who loves to travel, says opening the store has been a huge lifestyle change that’s been rewarding.
“The store has allowed me to creatively express myself in new ways and I’m just so excited about it,” Hernreich says . “We’re having a lot of fun.”Lew says the change – going from employee to owner – has been big for her too. “It puts everything on a different level.” Lew says. “I’m enjoying all aspects of it.””The Golden Bear’s loss was my gain,” Hernreich adds. “Wendy has so much retail experience, she understands the market in this area and she knows what will sell. She is a wonderful partner.”Aiming for affordability, tooWhen asked how Edwards customers compare with those in Vail Villager, Lew says they’re actually very similar if not the same. “We’re drawing women from Cordillera, Singletree, Homestead, Arrowhead and up to Bachelor Gulch and Beaver Creek.,” she says.
According to feedback they’ve received, even tourists from Vail have worked their way downvalley because parking is convenient, she says. The women are also quick to point out that although they carry some very high-end shoes, they also have less expensive shoes and hand bags. “People come in expecting our prices to be very high, but are pleasantly surprised to see we try to cover all the price points,” says Hernreich.They even have pet carry-kennels, which are growing in popularity. “We really are trying to meet the customer’s needs.” Lew says.They invite women to bring their outfits or gowns to the store. Hernreich and Lew also will with brides on special orders. “Our inventory is increasing every day, so we encouraging people to keep checking back with us,” Lew says. “We’re happy to help with special orders and we’ll ship anywhere.”Vail, Colorado