Boots & Western Wear

Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear has been a family-run retailer since 1958. With store locations in Alliston and Innisfil, Ont., Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear carries a significant selection of high quality boots and western wear. Dieter Elsner, Owner of Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear, spoke with The Canadian Business Journal this month about the company’s longstanding history, its significance in the marketplace, and its dedication to the best in customer service.

“The No. 1 item on my list has always been serving the customer, always in the best way that we can,” Elsner explained. “We ar always willing to go that extra mile. We find that people like our service and that with our offering of quality merchandise at a reasonable price it keeps us going and keep them coming back."

Under Elsner’s guidance, Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear has grown from a small shoe repair shop to a niche store that specializes in western boots and apparel. The company has also seen growth in its safety shoes and boots product segment.

“I am second generation and now all three of my kids are involved in the business. Many people seem to like that we have stayed in the family,” Elsner commented. “We also try to buy as much Canadian made product as we can and, if nothing else, we put smaller margins on Canadian made products to give other Canadian companies a bit of a boost. It is important to us, plus high quality is always there with Canadian made products.”

Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear collaborates with its suppliers to source the best products, both from a quality standpoint and in offering a diverse product selection. From safety boots, to moccasins, to western wear, Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear is committed to offering the greatest selection across its entire product inventory.

In the past, Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear had grown to four stores across the region, then later recognized it preferred a greater balance between growth and product quality. The company also sees that its growth is not limited to physical growth through expansion and new store openings. Rather, Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear has realized its true growth through an expanded product lineup.

“For us to carry all of our stock, we couldn’t have a store big enough,” Elsner detailed. “It is a fine line, where we are competitive but at the same time we try to find a balancing act. I like to deal with everything with a hands-on approach. With expansion, I found that some of the important aspects to the company did not receive the same level of care and it was not as crisp as I like it. My father’s name is our brand and it means a lot to me.

Customer Commitment

Situated in a small town environment, the importance of customer service is that much more crucial. To Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear, it is just as important to educate the customer as it is to make the sale.

“We try very hard to give the customer as much knowledge as we can to understand why a particular shoe is more expensive, not just to say it is better, but to tell them about the quality features of why it is better,” Elsner said. “Many customers drive hours to get here so we try to make sure that we really clarify what the customer wants. We have built our business on knowing what we know.”

Such dedication to customer service and an offering of the best quality product lineup surely means continued future growth for Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear. In particular, the company sees further growth in its safety footwear products with both individual clients as well as industrial contractors, while it also believes that this is simply one avenue available to grow its market offering and awareness. As Elsner aptly summarized, “I got into the business because I have always liked to direct my own destiny.”