Manchester location:

Mon.-Fri.: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat.: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sun.: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Birkenstock & More:

Mon.-Sat.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun.: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Chesterfield Mall and Galleria locations:

Mon.-Sat.: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sun.: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Customers of Laurie’s Shoes are familiar with the store’s kid-friendly shopping experience, knowledgeable salespeople and extensive selection. But what not everyone knows is that the shop’s original location on Manchester was built with a dual purpose in mind.

“The store was started by my grandfather, my mother and my father in 1951,” says president Mark Waldman. “The basement was actually built as a bomb shelter because of the Korean incidences. They used to bring kids in here for drills, and it was stocked with foodstuffs. It gives you the concept that my grandfather was very concerned with community efforts, and we’ve continued that.”

In its 63rd year, Laurie’s continues to be a mainstay in St. Louis footwear, and is now managed by the family’s third and fourth generations. Emphasizing fashion, fit and sizes, Laurie’s carries top brands such as Keen, Ugg, New Balance and Dansko at its three locations, plus a wide selection of Birkentstocks at its fourth store, Birkenstock and More.

Just like his grandfather, Waldman, his family and employees continue to help the community through Shoe Roads Productions. The organization travels to hospitals in four states and fits doctors and nurses with proper footwear. The store also donates a portion of sales to the hospitals.

“In our stores, our big thing, too, is full service,” Waldman says. “We have people with actual pedorthist experience, along with people who are well-versed on how to fit a certain shoe to a certain type of foot.” By buying internationally and stocking different styles in each store, the company offers customers the best of the best in footwear.

Waldman says the store’s premium customer service keeps customers returning for generations. Laurie’s even has customers as far away as California, Israel and South America who come back to St. Louis to do their shoe shopping.

“We have done this for so long and have the same degree of excitement about getting a new shoe in,” he says. “We love our customers, and that same philosophy and drive is still at a high peak as it was years ago. This is a continuation of what we’re looking at for years to come.”

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