Someone recently asked me how I got into the orthopedic shoe business. I replied, as I usually do that “it kind of happened by accident and alcohol may have played a minor role”. But this time my daughter Georgia, aka “Gigi” was close by and she beamed as she saw an opening.
“Daddy” she said with her 9 year old smile that is beginning to look like a few orthodontist visits are in her near future, “don’t you mean it was serendipitous?”
We’d recently watched what is now her “all-time favorite movie” – Serendipity – the one where the couple re-unite years after they first met. It’s a word that originally took her a few minutes to master the pronunciation, but she nailed it, just at the right moment. I smiled as I realized that it won’t be the last time that she outsmarts me.
“Oh I love that movie” the volleyball Mom declared suitably impressed. And for once, my wife was spared from another onslaught of a story she’s heard at least 1,000 times.
It was at our wedding reception, when one of our guests on my side and an old family friend, asked if the small marketing company my brother John and I had started together in 1995 would be interested in undertaking some market research. The project brief was to evaluate the market potential for a shoe designed for people with arthritis and forefoot deformities like bunions, corns, hammertoes, hallux valgus, (yes the last one got me too it’s just a fancy medical way of saying “ it’s a bunion”). Without giving it a second thought and perhaps after one too many glasses of bubbly, I said “sure”. Although I’m not so “sure” my brother or my wife has ever forgiven me.
And so it began, and now, much to my wife’s amusement, my friends know me as the “Al Bundy” of the orthopedic shoe world. The Pedors Classic began life as shoe originally designed for people with arthritis but would later become completely re-designed and fitted to diabetics as an “extra depth shoe with a removable insole for custom inserts available in full and half sizes and three widths” part of the criteria for coverage under Medicare’s Therapeutic Shoes for persons with diabetes.
The Classic is still the preferred shoe for people who struggle to find something that is comfortable for their arthritis but it was that “serendipitous” moment that gave birth to “Pedors Shoes” a company dedicated to making “Fantastically Functional Footwear” that resulted in a shoe that would spawn the evolution of the use of stretch materials in footwear for people with diabetes.
The personal views and ideas of Stephen O'Hare, President of Pedors Shoes in no way reflect the views of the Pedors Shoe Company, the staff, friends or family members - especially his family members.