Carnival of shoes

Minot residents looking for a good carnival no longer have to wait for the North Dakota State Fair.

Shoe Carnival, located at Southgate Crossing, opened its doors Oct. 26 and held its grand opening Saturday.

Linda Beitler, general manager, said Shoe Carnival has a family friendly and fun shopping environment. The store has a large selection of footwear for men, women and children in a wide variety of styles and brands.

A brand she wanted to highlight was Bogs boots for men, which are insulated and waterproof. They come in steel toe and non-steel toe. Other mens’ brands include Dr. Martens and Wolverine. For women, Beitler said Bare Traps have been extremely popular, and Bearpaw also sells well. Asics are a popular athletic shoe, and a few other brands include Ariat, Justin Boots, Saucony and Nike.

“We have lots of boots for men and a huge selection of kids’ shoes, too,” Beitler said.

Minot is the third North Dakota location for Shoe Carnival, following Bismarck and Fargo. All told, there are over 350 Shoe Carnival stores in the country.

At 12,800 square feet, Minot’s store is actually a little bigger than a typical Shoe Carnival, which usually runs 10,000 to 11,000 square feet.

Beitler said a booming population in Minot and a lot of traffic from Minot in the Bismarck store helped convince the company a slightly larger footprint here was warranted.

“Minot’s the perfect size, it’s growing, lots of traffic, and the first Saturday we opened I think 80 percent of our traffic was Canadian,” Beitler said.

The biggest thing that sets Shoe Carnival apart from the competition, according to Beitler, is the microphone. Every once in a while throughout the day a store employee will get on the mic and tell customers about a special deal that will only be good for the next 15 to 30 minutes.

“We run fun specials, we run specials in the store that are not advertised,” Beitler said.

They also have a basketball cage for children, or adults for that matter, to shoot some hoops in if they get bored with shopping for shoes. There is also a kiddie ride and the spin and win wheel which gets customers money off their purchase or a free prize.

The grand opening on Saturday had plenty of giveaways and other promotions. One of the big gifts was free shoes for a year, and another was a $1,000 cash giveaway. There were also $50 gift cards given away, and the first 100 customers on Saturday received $10 gift cards.

For those who couldn’t make it to the grand opening, there is a buy one pair of shoes, get one at half off deal running through Dec. 31.

Beitler said business has been going great, even a little bit better than they expected considering they haven’t had time to do much in the way of advertising since they opened.

“The first advertising hit on Tuesday where people were getting the grand opening flyers, so business has picked up a little bit since then,” Beitler said. “But I’m hoping everyone’s holding out for that grand opening day.”