One year on in Marsden…

Mountainfeet Marsden
Mountainfeet in Marsden was one year old on the first of February! It’s been a necessary and thankfully successful move from Oldham despite some tough times, 20 hour days and much soul searching as to whether we were doing the right thing. It’s a good job that I was in an optimistic mood the day I first saw the damp, cold shell that we now call home or I’d have walked away quickstyle…
The six weeks of intensive stripping out and refurbishment was not an experience I’d like to go through again although myself, Rich, Adele and Liz never had a cross word between us despite being dog-tired and freezing cold most of the time! There’s nothing like pulling a building apart and rebuilding it for feeling bonded to the place and with help from others like Billy, Ali, Sedbo and Doc Sydney, we were able to open the doors on schedule.
Well into the build
Now, one year on, several hundred customers have visited our friendly, chilled out premises and enjoyed top quality footwear fitting from passionate staff. We’ve solved many varied and several unique problems, identified potentially disabling medical issues, provided referrals to our expert network of professional podiatrists and generally strived to educate folk about the necessity of correctly fitting and supporting footwear. We treat each person individually with respect and provide a unique biomechanical appraisal backed up by mine and Phil’s academic knowledge and practical experience. We understand that not everyone wants to discuss their feet in detail and are reluctant for them to be examined but are finding more and more that customers are relieved to find sympathetic staff that can explain issues that may have troubled them for years.
Our website is a continuous work in progress with masses of information about the services we provide and plenty of detail about the ins and outs of quality footwear fitting. The next mission is to create a Marsden Village section where we can post details of the amenties available locally and allow people to download resources such as walking routes and local geocaches.

First screen of new app

For this year, I’ve devised an app which if the customer wishes can record their biomechanical profile and size details for comparing in subsequent visits. This provides useful historical data for helping preserve a customer’s foot health and is kept private and secure. (We are Data Protection registered for the purposes of storing this information). We also use the same iPad device to record and interpret a range of gait scan angles which can be of great interest.

On the academic side of things, Phil is about to qualify as a podiatrist after four years of study and I’m shortly about to finish a diploma in Foot Health Care. Marcus hasn’t been idle either and is well in to his first year of a radiography degree whilst still fitting in some part time work here at the shop. Finally, as another of our efforts to gain more credentials I’ve also recently qualified as a member of the Society of Shoe Fitters via a fairly rigorous and technically challenging entrance exam.

We’ve recently forged a great relationship with the esteemed UK boot manufacturers Alt-Berg in Richmond and offer their Tethera and Fremington boots together with a  fitting service second to none. The plan is to invest more into their range as finances allow and so far the take up of their product has been very encouraging. And on the subject of positive relationships, it’s only fair to thank our mentoring podiatrist Tony Gavin who’s been highly supportive both as a friend and medical professional and always had faith in what we were aiming to do.

Gyp and the precious things of the shop

Despite making the decision to stock and concentrate on quality footwear only, we’ve maintained accounts with most of the popular outdoor gear and clothing manufacturers and can order in on a two day turn around basis. This is proving popular with customers who can consult us first on the best kit for their needs and as we’re not sitting on stock we can be competitive on price too.

To the unenlightened, losing the big shop in Oldham and setting up in tiny premises out in the sticks might have seemed like a retrograde step but that’s not seeing the proper picture or understanding what’s being offered. As many of our friends and loyal customers know, there can be massive benefits to a visit here and we have some glowing testimonials from far and wide in the UK to prove it.

Another big plus point as far as I’m concerned is that Marsden is a fantastic and friendly village to visit for a walk, a meal, a pint or just a mooch about. And as friends already know, there’s always a brew on here if you call in for a chat together with a chance to play with our charismatic sheepdog Gyp, the new pretender to the Oldham shops irreplaceable Cap.

A comfortable place to work and visit

Financially, things are still very tough and although the new shop is just about standing on its own feet (pardon the pun!), the legacy and debt from the last disastrous year in Oldham will mean hardship for some time yet. I spent most of the last two years grafting to pay everybody but myself and that’s going to have to change in the next twelve months! But at least Mountainfeet is looking forward and we have more up our sleeve yet! Better half full in Marsden than half empty in Oldham!

So, here’s to the next year and beyond – myself, Phil and Marcus want to offer our massive gratitude to all who’ve supported us and had faith in my vision of how outdoor footwear should be sold and fitted…