Home Back Issues October 2009 Bad health is good for specialty shoe stores

Bad health is good for specialty shoe stores

| Print |  Email
Archives - October 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009

One specialty shoemaker is seeing a bump in business as Oregon’s diabetes rate spikes.

Bill Crary, owner of Crary Shoes in Portland, says requests for customized molding for diabetics now make up nearly two-thirds of his overall business. And Crary believes the reason is clear. “In the last four years we tripled in sales,” Crary says. “That’s all due to diabetes.”

The growing demand allowed the Crary family business to open a second location in Beaverton last December. Working with daughter Meredith and son Nathan, Crary says the company now employs 11 staff, including four shoemakers. He estimates he sees 40 to 50 diabetics weekly, with an average customized pair of shoes costing Medicare around $540.

According to a 2008 report by the Oregon Department of Human Services, diabetes in Oregon has jumped 35% in the past decade. ODHS notes that feet are particularly susceptible to diabetes complications because the disease causes a lack of circulation, which corresponds with neuropathy, and if not cared for properly, gangrene. The American Diabetic Association says more than 60% of all lower-limb non-traumatic amputations are caused by diabetes.

Industry experts say specialized footwear for diabetics is becoming more mainstream nationally as the number of people living with the disease grows. Joe McTernan of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association says Medicare orders nationwide for “off-the-shelf” orthotic footwear increased by 50% between 2003 and 2007. Gordon Rabing, sales manager for Amfit, an orthotic products and service company based in Vancouver, Wash., says many traditional shoe companies now offer two or three stock models of diabetic shoes.

Brian Lagana, executive director of the Pedorthic Footwear Association, says that across the country companies such as Crary Shoes have not been hit as hard by the economic downturn as other industries, with diabetics a significant part of their patient base. “You can certainly see an upsurge in diabetic individuals being treated,” he says. “And we’re only going to see that increase in the foreseeable future.”

WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD
 

More Articles

Green eyeshades in the ivory tower

News
Friday, April 04, 2014
EducationCosts BlogBY ERIC FRUITS

The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?


Read more...

Revolution in print, pixels and passion

News
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
RyanFrankNewsBY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER

The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...

The 2014 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon

News
Friday, February 28, 2014

100best14logo ThumbnailThe 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...

Q & A with Chuck Eggert

News
Thursday, March 06, 2014
03.06.14 thumb pacfoodsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

The founder of Pacific Foods talks about why his company has flown under the radar in Oregon, how saving a family-run chicken hatchery has helped his bottom line and why he thinks organic food is anything but elitist.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS