WALKIN’ IN KAMLOOPS
A shoe store with over 100 years of history.
“We get calls about sheet deliveries or purchasing bedding and stuff,” she says. “I’m like, I don’t need bedding. I’m not a hotel, but thank you.”
So what is The Big Boot Inn? It’s a shoe store in downtown Kamloops that’s been around since 1952. So when you walk through their doors, you’ll be entering a space that is a mixture of the historical and the contemporary.
“It’s really cool,” says Mercedes. “This location here has been a shoe store for over 100 years.”
It was Frank and John Di Geso who originally owned the store and moved it from its First Avenue location to its current home at 241 Victoria Street. And Basford has an interesting family connection with those brothers.
“The crazy thing is the Di Geso brothers, they were originally on the First Avenue block. Well, they were my parents’ landlords for years. When my parents started up, they were their landlords.
“So it’s kind of this weird, like, small town, family, crazy connection. So it’s really cool.”
Basford comes by her interest in shoes naturally, having worked at a number of shoe stores, including The Big Boot Inn, while attending University both in Kamloops and in Calgary. And her interest in business comes, in part, from her parents, who own Anderson’s Sewing Center in Kamloops.
“Growing up in it kind of made it hard to work for someone else.”
Some employers were better than others, though. “Kristin and Ryan were so phenomenal. The original owners of the Big Boot Inn were such amazing bosses. They were so appreciative and so amazing that when I moved and started working for other people who weren’t as amazing, it was just so frustrating.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Before purchasing the Big Boot Inn, Mercedes completed her theatre degree at Thompson Rivers University. There’s not a lot of overlap between those two things!
When asked about the future, Mercedes said she’d like to see a younger demographic come through her doors, encouraging them to kick off their plastic shoes and get into some better quality footwear.
Now that she’s the owner of The Big Boot Inn, Basford is looking to put her own stamp on it, while also striving to keep some of the store’s heritage intact.
“When Kristin and Ryan took over 10 years ago, they did a whole facelift, and now we’re just taking the hard work they put into it and kind of even running with it further. I opened it up a lot, I painted, I added some wallpaper, I remarketed a little bit, I changed the way the merchandising is a bit, I’m working on clearing a little bit more stuff out.
“Things are going to change and things have to change. I had to make it my own. And I had to kind of play around with things because, you know, it’s not that Kristin and them were doing anything wrong, it’s just I had to figure it out and make it my own.”
And it sounds like she has a pretty good idea what her version of The Big Boot Inn is going to be.
“We’re a bunch of really weird, quirky people. And we sell shoes.”
You can find those shoes (and those quirky people) at 241 Victora Street in Kamloops. Check out some of their stock on Facebook and Instagram or visit their web site. Their phone number is (250) 372-3551