New owners get off on the right foot of shoe business

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Peter and Diane Holdaway highlight a new display at James Shoes in downtown Waynesboro. NANCY MACE/FOR LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO—Diane Holdaway has a vision as she takes over an 80-year-old downtown Waynesboro tradition.

“We’ll do our best to get you into the shoe you want, but the shoe that’s right for your feet,” offered Holdaway, who recently purchased James Shoes from Barb Chandler.

Holdaway, a retired podiatrist, said she has always been interested in orthopedics and helping people walk with various foot problems.

“I make orthotics (custom-made forms for feet that help relieve foot, heel, ankle, leg and back pain) for people and I took a class this past summer in pedorthics (how to modify footwear and use supportive devices to address conditions that affect the feet) and they asked me to teach online classes.”

Holdaway said she had been thinking about opening a shoe store in Chambersburg, where she and her husband, Peter, a podiatrist, live. “Things fell into place when we heard Barb was selling the store and she is staying on for a few months to help us learn the retail side and her tricks for fitting.”

Customers will continue to receive the personal attention they are used to at James and will notice updates such as a new floor, ceiling and paint and “more of an open atmosphere. We still have the vintage chairs that have been there for 80 years and the color on the walls highlights those chairs,” according to Holdaway.

Expanding lines to incorporate more sneakers, running and trail shoes into the inventory are planned.

“We’re also adding more modern styles of casual shoes,” Holdaway said.

Also available are brands such as Clark’s, Hush Puppies, Propet, Minnetonka slippers, Lamo boots, sneakers such as Saucony, Topo and Mizuno, and work boots.

James carries shoes for children from Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds. “And we have a line of casual modern shoes we want to introduce into the store,” she added.

Customers also have the opportunity to purchase purses, compression stockings and Red Wing socks, as well as leather protectors and oils and waterproofing products.

At the rear of the store is the clearance room, where numerous items are 50 percent off.

Holdaway said her pledge is to professionally fit people with good shoes. “We’re excited and hoping things go well,” she said.

Hours for the store, located 76 W. Main St., are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 717-762-1945.