Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shoe Carnival Steps Right Up Barker, Games Greet Customers at Regency Store

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shoe Carnival Steps Right Up Barker, Games Greet Customers at Regency Store

Article excerpt

A carnival barker shouting out in-store specials.

A "money machine" glass booth where customers can grab dollar

bills and discount coupons out of the air.

A wheel that shoppers can spin for discounts on their

purchases.

Buying shoes was never like this.

And Shoe Carnival Inc., which opened its first Jacksonville

store yesterday, is hoping that its unusual approach to

retailing will appeal to local shoppers.

"I think it's a fun place. People have got to see it," said

Jacksonville Jaguars owner J. Wayne Weaver, who happens to be

chairman and the largest shareholder of Shoe Carnival.

Shoe Carnival is so confident of the Jacksonville market that

its new store at the Regency Plaza Shopping Center is the

second-largest in its chain at 22,000 square feet, almost double

the average size of its other 92 stores. The store holds 45,000

pairs of shoes.

"That's a very unique footwear store," said Steven A. Richter,

analyst at Tucker Anthony in Boston. "The size is unique and the

categories are unique."

Besides the entertainment value of the store, the company also

is hoping its selection and prices will be appealing. Richter

describes its merchandise mix as above discount stores like

Payless Shoe Source and below department store shoe departments.

"We carry a large amount of branded merchandise," said Kraig

Swinburne, regional manager for Shoe Carnival.

But while the selection is huge, when customers leave the store

they'll likely remember the atmosphere as much as anything. As

they enter, they're greeted by a carnival barker shouting out

discounts and specials.

"Every 2 1/2 minutes there's some kind of announcement," said

Swinburne.

Customers will also see a wheel they can spin to earn up to $5

off their purchase or free gifts.

And of course, there's the money machine that whips a

combination of dollar bills and dollar-off coupons through the

air. Margie Dunlap of St. Mary's, Ga., stepped into the booth

yesterday and grabbed $4 in cash and $8 in coupons in 30

seconds on the machine's first try. …

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