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

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Reader Input: Rx for Health Care

July/August 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers how Obamacare has impacted their business.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


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