Owner Eric Mudick
This article originally appeared on Patch.
Live in the Slope, and looking for shoes? Ask around a little bit, and you're bound to hear the name "Eric" come up at least a few times.
Eric Mudick knows his shoes, and has developed a very loyal following since opening his self-named store (formerly known as Girl on Seventh) on Seventh Avenue between Second and Third Streets in 2008.
His vast knowledge of shoes goes back to when he was little.
My father was in the merchandising/visual side of the business, and he suggested I try retail," Mudick explained. "He traveled around the world for his business, and he taught me the basics. I learned from him, but created my own vision."
Eric opened his first shoe store in 1975 on the Upper East Side, selling exclusively women's shoes, but by the late 80s he had essentially singlehandedly started a fashion movement: fashionable children's shoes.
"It was a real novel concept at the time," said Eric. "Back then, children's shoes were Stride Rite. I sold shoes that looked like adult shoes, but for children."
The store, called Little Eric, took off, and became Mudick's claim to fame in the shoe industry. As he started a family in the late 2000's, he realized that it was time to find a place to work that was closer to his home in Park Slope, and Eric Shoes was born.
The differences in markets between the Upper East Side and Park Slope were self-evident.
"In Manhattan, it's about the chase of the item. It's about being fancy and cutting edge," he said. "Here, it's about the formulation of a lifestyle category that suits your needs."
And Eric knows how to meet those needs.
"The product here is urban in feeling, classics with a cutting edge, with a very high level of quality and a clean design," he explained. "Most shoe stores have commercial brands. Everybody can get them. But what we're doing is a little different."
Eric has a few commercial brands, for sure, but the real meat and potatoes of the store are its under the radar, "mom and pop"-produced shoes. You would be hard-pressed to find most of his merchandise elsewhere, as it's sourced from small producers, some of whom custom-make shoes exclusively for the store.
"You have to have trend-worthy brands, but it's the incorporation of under the radar brands that keep you the front-runner," he said.
Mudick knows that top-notch merchandise is only half the battle, though. "Customers will go to the store if they like the product, but they won't return if service is bad," he explained. "The secret to our success, and the success of any business, is customer service plus the product. Make them feel comfortable, be sincere and knowledgeable about what you do, and be accommodating. At the end of the day it's about giving the customer what they want."
"And laugh every day. If you can't laugh every day, it's not worth it."
Eric/ Girl on Seventh, 202 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. Phone: 718-369-4189.