The Goddards have made the latest step forward after giving Cayman the right fit for many years.
Karen and Ishmel Goddard came up with the idea of opening No. 1 Shoe Shop to complement their small salary as high school teachers in the 1970s to purchase their own home, but since that time the business has flourished to include three sons, three separate stores No. 1, Sport N Zone and Winner’s Circle – all with separate focuses.
Open on Hospital Road is a new 14,400 square feet building offering residents and visitors an expanded selection in exclusive footwear and shoe repair services.
Popular brand names, such as Nine West, Sandalistas slipper by Aetrex, Nike, Air Force 1, Dickies K-Swiss, may be purchased and the store’s Aetrex-istep machine accurately measures your foot size and determines your arch type and pressure points in less than 30 seconds for recommended shoe selections.
“It was Ishmel’s idea that if we ever wanted to get a home we would have to come up with a business plan,” Mrs. Goddard said. “He made several proposals to me and I suggested the shoe shop because it was something we knew a little about through helping out at my sister’s boutique. When she gave up on the shoe section we opened No. 1 Shoe Shop in The Village downtown in 1976. In later years, the business would move to the Jetik Building on Walkers Road.
The company grew tremendously under Karen and Ishmel leadership to include their three sons Chris, David and Jeff.
In 2002, along with son Chris, Winner’s Circle on Albert Panton Street was opened with a focus on branded athletic footwear and accessories with a trendier appeal.
As with most family businesses, the sons began helping out at the store when they were young, earning pocket money by doing odd jobs around the shop.
“We never gave our children pocket money. They earned it, but we also made it fun,” Mrs. Goddard said. “They would not always get it right, but we encouraged them to keep at it and at the same time they were learning.”
The Goddards never pushed their sons to join the business as a career and never put expectations on them, but they saw great business potential in Chris.
“From the time Chris was 3 he looked at ways of making a profit. He would go fishing and try to sell the tiny fish and with the money he would buy candies and sell to other students,” she said.
In a business-family relationship the five Goddards work well together, probably because each has taken up a different role within the family business. Chris is at Sport N Zone and No. 1, David is at Winner’s Circle, Jeff assists with networking and the Goddards oversee No. 1.
“When the other stores were opened it was not to compete but to complement, and carry products that were not available at No. 1,” said Chris.
He also said Winner’s Circle was an ideal venue for young people to work because of its flexible working hours and help with resumes into the workforce. “Since the shop opened in 2002 we have employed over 30 young people who have gone on to various jobs in the community,” he said.
The family business not only provides such items as shoes, luggage and sports outfits, but also invests in charitable events and organised activities to assist the community.
In all their business transactions the Goddards place the Lord first by seeking his help and guidance to run the store to the best of their ability.
“Every business has it’s ups and downs, but you have to plan ahead and work accordingly and make it with what you a have. We really did not save money, but learned to invest properly in an effort for the business to grow,” the Goddards said.
When the store first opened in The Village downtown faithful and dedicated staff operated the shop in their absence as teachers. “Ms Annette Ebanks was responsible and kept things running smoothly at the store for about 16 years in the 70s when business was booming,” they said.
In those times and today, the Goddards tried to get the shoes that are the ‘in-thing’ and what the people like.
A lot of the office girls bought shoes from the store.
“In those times there was Bata and Merren’s shoe store, but we offered more current and more fashionable shoes which drew a huge clientele from the young people,” Mr. Goddard said.
Popular shoes for ladies in those years he said was Spanish leather which phased out to incorporate a more boutique style with a higher price. The men’s shoes had a very high heel and were known as platforms that were the hot thing in those days, Mr. Goddard chuckled.
Those days, he said shoes could be bought at $29.99 and up to $40 for high end.
“The price of things have definitely changed from when we were teachers making about $246 per month,” he said.
Throughout the years, the Goddards have had good support from the Cayman residents and visitors recommend the shop for its service.
“Our aim is always to be fair to people, give them the best price and service possible and always try to assist when every possible, that has always been the motive of the Cayman No. 1 Shop,” they said. “Working in the family business does come with a certain amount of pressure, but to do well we continue to build on that legacy.”