JACKSON TWP.  Lucky Shoes is celebrating its 100th year in business. The company, which is Northeast Ohio family-owned and operated, saw was founded in Firestone Park in 1919 and has also been a part of Stark County since opening a store in 1981 on Whipple Avenue.

The store then moved to the front side of Belden Village Mall in 1993. Lucky Shoes has been at its location at 4828 Everhard Road NW in Jackson Township since 2003.

The company’s history began when Ukranian immigrant Joe Luck began selling work boots out of a push cart to Akron’s rubber workers. A century later, the values that Joe started the company with continue to strengthen its foundation, including hands-on family ownership, community involvement, collaboration with partners and excellent customer service rooted in industry expertise.

The business was eventually taken over by Joe’s sons, Milton and Leonard, then later by Milton’s son, Tom, and most recently Tom’s son, John, who is the current and fourth-generation owner of the company.

“My dad is still the CEO of the company and works out of our office in Fairlawn,” said John Luck. “My son Brian is now working in the company over the summers and spring break from college. He makes the fifth generation working for a company that my great grandfather started.”

Luck said that the business was started as an informal company store for the Firestone employees in Firestone Park. It sold dry goods, material and canned goods. The company’s first shoe-only store was opened in 1955 in Fairlawn, which set the retailer’s current course. Today, Lucky Shoes operates four stores under the Lucky name, eight New Balance stores, two Stride Rite booteries, and two standalone Vionic doors, the newest addition to its portfolio, which opened in 2016.

“I never knew my great grandfather, but I feel like I’m taking care of his business. We know who we are, and we’ve stuck to it for all these years,” explained Luck. “We’ve been able to grow and thrive because we can maneuver quickly to carry all of the latest trends. We are always looking for new, different and better brands to carry. And, we have shoe fitters who strive to do what’s right for the customer when it comes to helping them make the right decision and lead them to better footwear.”

Luck said it’s important that the sales people help ensure the right fit for every customer. He adds that the team of more than 100 employees navigates by tying themselves to the consumers they serve.

Another reason Luck said that Lucky Shoes has been around for 100 years is that it follows the engineers and shoe designers versus the brand names. One example is the Hoka shoe. The foam is feather light and, Luck said, they have sold thousands of the shoes.

Another example is the Vionic shoe which Luck said, “is the best kept secret in the shoe business.” It is an Australian company that designed their shoes using medical people and fashion people to design a comfortable and fashionable shoe for women.

He said that the shoe industry is highly competitive, and the shoe companies are always looking for new innovations and creativity to design their shoes. Everyone in the industry tries to out do each other.

 “You have to do in each situation what is right for the customer and one of the biggest things we do is advocate for the customer. We make sure the shoes in our stores are going to create the best outcome for our customers, no matter what label is on the box,” added Luck. “One example of our dedication to providing excellent customer service is our trained pedorthists on staff. We are often highly recommended by area physicians for patients with foot problems.”

Some of the changes in the shoe business is the internet sales and the availability of product. Luck said the company doesn't sell shoes online because it doesn’t allow them to “do what we do best which is take care of our customers.”

For the future, Luck said, “We are still growing and opening more Vionic stores. We are looking at expanding into other markets such as Cincinnati.”

Lucky Shoes has locations across Ohio from Cleveland and Akron to Columbus and Canton. The Lucky Shoes family of stores ensures its customers find style, comfort, fit and value. Lucky Shoe stores have a mixture of fresh trends, colors and the hottest brands, while helping its guests find the perfect fit for all ages of the family. For more information about Lucky Shoes, visit LuckyShoes.com or facebook.com/luckyshoesstore.

Locally, there are Lucky Shoes and the New Balance store in Jackson Township. Both stores are located next to each other at 4828 Everhard Road. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.