GROTON — Although Nancy Sinatra’s boots may have been made for walkin’, those of the newly opened Groton Country Bootery at Ridgehill Common is designed with much more in mind.
“We sell therapeutic, high-end comfort footwear,” said Thomas Kelly, an orthotist prosthestist and pedorthist by training and, at the moment, general manager of the Bootery. “That includes specialty shoes for the masses as well as for people who have orthopedic problems such as flat feet or other foot-related problems due to injury or birth defects.”
While Kelly said footwear for problem feet will be a specialty within the store, products for sale will not be limited to that. The store also features a great variety of cowboy boots, waterproof footwear, and work boots. In addition, the Bootery will also carry all kinds of sneakers and dress shoes for the whole family.
According to Kelly, he and his fiancé, Westford resident Jeanne Alexopoulos, opened the Bootery on Nov. 5 and planned to hold a grand opening marking the store’s official arrival on Dec. 5. The store occupies about 2,000 square feet on the ground floor of a historic building located at the intersection of Sandy Pond and Boston roads.
“Our store and its products have been directed right at this community,” Kelly revealed. “The Bootery features very high quality foot wear that has really been chosen with Groton and other local communities in mind.”
“I think the store’s going to do great,” said Alexopoulos. “We’ve done our best to buy things that most people don’t sell.”
In addition to the footwear side of the business, the Bootery also features a gift section with a wide variety of items for sale.
“The gift side is beautiful,” said Kelly pointing out that featured items there include handbags, painted glass, candles, ornaments, paintings, bird houses and much more.
“It’s such a beautiful old space,” said Kelly. “It was part of a former stagecoach stop that connected Boston, Concord and Groton and features exposed beams and four fireplaces in the downstairs area.”
Kelly said although the shoes and gifts sections of the store are separate, the whole thing is still one store that occupies one long space.
Kelly, who has owned and operated shoe stores in Florida, is not a stranger to the footwear market and saw Groton as fertile ground for such a business. Teaming up with Alexopoulos, who decorated the store, choosing lighting, and making the decisions for merchandise available in the gift section, Kelly said finding the location at Ridgehill Common was serendipitous.
“I’ve always had a love for Groton and since I found out that my family has been here since 1664, this building was a natural for us,” said Kelly. “It all just fell into place. We looked at a lot of different places but this one just called out to us.”
Divided between the two parts of the business, the Bootery allows for 1,400 square feet for shoes and 650 square feet for the gift shop. The shoe store will feature footwear for the entire family including boots of all kinds, sneakers, and dress shoes for ladies, men and children by well known brands such as Merrell and Birkenstock. The owners take pride in carrying more exclusive brands such as Trask shoes which are made from buffalo and elk hide as well. The store even features bargain stock.
“We have very unique things,” said Kelly. “And we have a great selection of cowboy boots as well.”
In the few weeks the store has been open, the eclectic mix of product seems to have touched a chord with the buying public.
“So far, the Bootery has been very well received,” said Kelly, adding that people have been telling him they have been looking forward to having some place local to buy shoes.
“We’ve had no problems getting started,” Kelly said. “It’s really been smooth. We see, as our customers, people from all of the surrounding towns not only Groton, but Dunstable, Westford, Littleton, Harvard. We cater to everyone from children to teenagers and college students, from mothers and fathers to grandmothers and grandfathers.”
Expressing confidence about the success of the new business, Kelly said he and Alexopoulos have already been thinking about the future.
“The first five days have been very encouraging,” said Kelly. “And if this works like I think it will, we’re considering taking the upstairs portion of the building as well.”
But the Bootery’s strong start has not come as a surprise to Kelly.
“I think Groton has huge promise for business,” Kelly said. “I’ve spoken to a lot of local retailers and every one is very upbeat about the future of Groton. It still has very much of a hometown feel about it and yet it’s also very business friendly. That’s a good mix.”
And a good mix is also the name of the game at the Groton Country Bootery which promises to fill a niche for local consumers.