The Zen of customer service
Gregg Shaw sold everything he owned and quit his steady job in order to open his own clothing store—with his own vision. Located at 1210 Roseville Parkway, No. 100 in Roseville, Heritage Footwear & Apparel stands out by focusing on a family-friendly atmosphere that makes you feel like part of the gang. Shaw imports wares from all over the world and embraces the local arts scene, so you’ll feel better about parting with those hard-earned dollars.
Describe your store in a nutshell.
Heritage is a very well-selected and edited men’s boutique aimed at more contemporary and discerning customers. We originally did men’s and women’s for a while; now we’re doing men’s and kid’s only.
How do you incorporate art into your store?
We bring in artists pretty regularly to hang. We have a small gallery in our store that we let ours hang in. We also bring in more national, international, well-known artists. Last spring we had Mike Giant from Rebel 8, who is a huge force in the graffiti and tattoo industry. We’re looking in a couple months to have another artist at that caliber to come out. We’re looking forward to surprising people with who we can bring to Sacramento and help kind of put Sacramento on the radar.
What will a customer never find in your store?
You will never hear the word trendy or the word fashion kicked around our store. (Laughs.) You’re never going to see flash and bedazzle and bright back pockets on jeans, spray-painted T-shirts with tigers on them and things like that. That’s really just not our thing.
Who is your typical customer?
Our main focus in on guys in the 25-40ish range. They don’t have very many opportunities for shopping out here that apply to their demographic. It’s either skateboard stores or crazy, bedazzled disco wear. There’s nothing really in between for the man’s man, the contemporary, clean, well-built kind of style.
Name one special item you offer.
There are a lot of things we do that are really unique to us for this area that this area hasn’t seen before. Primarily, for us, men’s denim, especially raw denim. We are a huge, huge supporter of that. It’s pure, untreated cotton that’s meant to break in and age with your body. It’s kind of what denim was supposed to be, you know, what it was originally.
If you had to compare yourself to another store, which one would it be?
A lot of people compare us to an American Rag. I guess without the really crazy, high-fashion catwalk angle to it that those guys do.
Pick two brands you think everyone should buy from your store.
One of our key brands that we do amazing with is Nudie denim. It’s a Swedish brand that actually makes their jeans in Japan and Italy. They do a lot of organics. They’re extremely focused on fair trade and they pay a fair wage throughout the entire process. But they have a really big focus on raw denim. We’re the only shop in the Valley that carries it outside of San Francisco.
Another one that I really like doing is Stüssy. Stüssy has been around and people everywhere are super familiar with the brand. It continues to do amazing for us; we sell it great because it’s really well-built, its really simple and really interesting. It caters to a broad array of people, but it’s also matured along with people, so it’s a brand that they’ve been familiar with back when they were young all the way to now.
Social responsibility seems really important to you.
My concept with being personally successful isn’t just financial. I feel good about doing things where people are taken care of. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of giving back even if you don’t have much. I know that in this situation, we’re able to give back in some way whether it’s just buying fair-trade or organic products, or if we have an event where we generate revenue that we can kick a portion of that back to something. I think success doesn’t just come from financial gain, but also a sense of well-being and commitment to making sure that those that helped you achieve that success are taken care of as well.
What’s the atmosphere like inside your store?
We’re really committed to quality merchandising and display. We carry really interesting items, and I hate going into stores and seeing things smashed together. We put a lot of time and effort into how we display and how we merchandise our brand names to make sure everything has room to breathe and room to be seen. The store has a very lofty, unique and kind of well-built vibe to it.
How are you different?
Sometimes I feel like a bartender or a barber. (Laughs.) I sit down and talk to customers about their problems, and we hang out and chat. That happens a lot. We develop really personal relationships with our customers.