20 Reasons To Celebrate With Shoe Palace

Shoe Palace is one of the most trusted athletic apparel retailers in the US. The Mersho clan founded Shoe Palace in 1993. A single brick and mortar location placed in San Jose, California started it all. Currently the apparel company is present in four different states, including California, Nevada, Texas and Arizona. They presently have over 50 sites and expansion is constantly in development. That amazing growth from a single location to over 50 was accomplished by dedication and a commitment to providing a warm family atmosphere.

The story of Shoe Palace began quite unassumingly. “My father started Shoe Palace. He is an extremely humble man but his passion to provide for his family was penetrating,” reflects George Mersho (President & CEO). Like so many individuals who first open a business, those first few years were not easy for the Mersho clan. “I can remember working in the store as a child and we would sell maybe a few hundred dollars worth of shoes a day. There were times when it seemed like it wouldn’t work,” says Ralph Mersho (CFO). The Mersho family has always been a tight knit unit and those early struggles brought them even closer. That strong sense of community reinforcement carried them. “We never thought we would be where we are right now. It was such a struggle to get here. But, we never quit, and we just believed in ourselves. We believed in each other because that was all we had,” John Mersho (Sr. Vice President).

Shoe Palace always set lofty goals for themselves. They never settled for second best and that commitment to excellence paid off. “We wanted to lead the industry. That may sound brash but it was the goal. That had to be our goal. If we didn’t think that way in the beginning I don’t think we would be where we are today,” says Tony Mersho (VP of Sales). Having big objectives and being able to fulfill them is of course two different things. The team laid out a plan early on, a checklist of sorts that would help direct them to where they needed to be. “Tremendous customer service was crucial. We really want to engage our customers and make them feel comfortable shopping with us. Another key for us was affordable pricing. We wanted to offer the best product available for the lowest price we possibly could. Selection was a vital element for our success. We needed to carry more brands and a greater assortment of product than everyone else. I think we have done an excellent job of meeting those goals, but we are always trying to improve,” George Mersho.

Being around family can be problematic. Anyone who has a family knows that few people can get under your skin like a sibling. “It can be difficult. It’s definitely not always easy or smooth. At the end of the day we all know we have the same aspirations and want the best for each other. We fight all the time but eventually we hug and move on. I never have to worry about being in this alone. I have my family here to support me and I support them. It’s a really special and unique situation we have. I can’t envision not having the people that mean the most to me in this world by my side everyday,” Ralph Mersho.

The staff at Palace has gotten to work with the leaders of the sports apparel world. They definitely haven’t taken that opportunity for granted. “It’s a privilege to work with the top brands in the industry. It’s inspiring to watch these companies function and operate. These folks are the best at what they do and it definitely rubs off on you. We love to learn at Shoe Palace. We don’t know it all and we never pretend that we do. We are always trying to pick up things from these brands. For us, it’s all about growing. The brands we work with each day have definitely helped us to acquire knowledge and expand,” John Mersho.

The Mersho family was in no way born into privilege. It took a lot to get where they are today. Because of that, they are constantly looking for ways to help others who may need a little assistance. “As a family we believe that success isn’t just measured in sales and wealth. We always wanted to make a positive impact in the community. Shoe Palace wanted to make sure that the communities that took care of us were also being taken care of,” Tony Mersho. In 2012, the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted Shoe Palace. The charitable foundation reached out to them about a young boy who was greatly ill. He was allowed to do anything he wanted and he chose to shop at Shoe Palace. “That was such a tremendous blessing. For him to choose us and award our family in that way was incredible. He had the opportunity to go to Disneyland or throw out the first pitch at a baseball game but he picked a shopping spree at our store. Of all the gifts we have been given over the years, it would be hard for me to pick one that was more special than that,” George Mersho.

“I know our future is a bright one. We have improved so much each year and I don’t see that stopping. Lots of big things are in the works for us. Things that can hopefully take us to another level and help us prosper. I really can’t wait to see what we do next,” John Mersho. They aren’t enamored with the idea of looking back at the company. They are focused on what is ahead and don’t get too obsessed with the pageantry of their past accomplishments. A lot of that is tied to the price of being so successful. There isn’t a lot of time to enjoy what you did yesterday.

This anniversary is obviously a testament to the Mersho’s dedication and hard work. But they all realize they could not have done it alone. “I am so proud of being part of an organization that against all odds accomplished a milestone that only a few can claim. I am proud of the way we stayed true to our goals of offering the best selection for the best value. We trained hundreds of young minds that have become part of our extended family. Many have moved on to become lawyers, physicians and even college professors. I am thankful to the employees that put in their hardest effort to separate Shoe Palace from the rest. Finally, I want to thank all the communities that have supported us and made us their shoe store of choice,” Lawrence Pirouzi (VP of Operations). Shoe Palace hopes that their success can help to inspire more first time business owners. “Back in 1993 nobody in my family would have thought a thing like this was possible. I hope we are an example for people starting out in business. I’m not saying we are perfect and that we don’t make mistakes, far from it. If we can do it, anyone can. We are living proof of the American dream. That may sound cheesy but I don’t know how else to say it. We worked extremely hard and it paid off. Shoe Palace turning 20 is really about the people. It’s about the family that started the business and the individuals who support it,” George Mersho.

Visit SHOEPALACE.COM to learn more.

Other 20th Anniversaries this year:

The box office hit Jurassic Park opens.

Michael Jordan retires for the first time.

The Dallas Cowboys win Super Bowl 27.

Film icon Audrey Hepburn dies.


  1. Yaredgeberslassie

    04/06/2015 at 9:56 pm

    Shoe palace is a great company to work for. I’m only 16 & I plan to grow with the company and someday even become a co CEO with the company. Dream big as they tell you!

  2. jose arias

    08/22/2015 at 7:40 am

    I use to buy my shoes from the owner (the old man) at the Capitol flea market & on Bascom. Then from George on Aborn. I’m glad to see your adds in the mail George!

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