It always feels great to shop local, but visiting craft artisans at a local farmers market may not always be an option. What if you could shop locally at a national brand? Co-owners James and Lisa Liberis make that possible for those looking for high-quality, comfortable shoes in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Along with James’ brother-in-law and sister-in-law, the family owns and operates seven New Balance stores. The stores offer a variety of footwear styles as well as athletic apparel. Six of the seven are located in the DFW area, and this year, James and Lisa are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Dallas, Fort-Worth, Frisco and Arlington stores.

The family has a long history in the shoe business. Lisa said her father ran a major shoe retailer and has 55 years of experience in the field. Between the owners, there are 135 years of footwear experience. James and Lisa have also been able to use their past career experience in finance, real estate and advertising to further their stores’ success. Lisa does the advertising, James handles the finances, his brother-in-law buys the footwear for the company and his sister-in-law buys the apparel.

“We decided we all have a piece to the puzzle,” Lisa said. “We’ve worked in retail and customer service all our lives and we know how people want to feel cared for—they want to know that you can help them.”

At any of the seven stores, customers will be attended to by caring, compassionate team members who know the importance of a proper fitting shoe.

“We truly want each customer to get the right shoe for them,” he said. “So when someone says, ‘What’s the best running shoe?’, we take into account the person and their individual needs.”

Lisa said another difference customers will experience is the level of care and attention the New Balance employees devote to their customers. From the minute they walk in, customers are greeted and welcomed before starting the process of finding their perfect fit.

Employees will not only measure the foot, but evaluate the person’s gait and arch to recommend the appropriate shoe.

“It’s not just about the length and width of a foot,” Lisa said. “People don’t realize that if they were measured at 15 or 16 years old, their size has likely changed. With aging, pregnancy, or any type of health issue, lots of things can happen. And not all styles and brands run the same, so it’s really important to educate our customers on the size and style that is best for them.”

The family-owned stores stay true to their roots by serving families. James and Lisa’s New Balance stores serve customers from pre-school to college and beyond.

“We serve grandkids to grandparents,” James said. “From runners, to walkers, to people just looking for leisure—we really see every age and every category.”

Lisa said another factor that makes the seven stores unique is the ability to choose store hours. Their locally owned stores do not follow corporate hours; instead, the New Balance stores are open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and are closed Sunday.

The fact that our employees have Sunday off is huge,” James said. “We think it’s important that your life isn’t only about work. We want people to have time for their families and we want to have time for our families, too.”

When James and Lisa launched the first four stores in 2002, their oldest daughter was eighteen months old. Now, she is about to graduate college. James said their own family has grown up with the store and that having family time is important.

Ultimately, the locally owned locations offer freedom and flexibility to community members and create loyal, happy customers through a caring staff. Returning customers can even bring in their old pair of shoes so employees can evaluate the wear pattern. From there, staff members can listen to the person’s experience with the shoe and continue to tailor their experience.

“What separates us from most stores is having that caring individual that helps the customer,” James said. “It’s not just about selling somebody a shoe.”

Lisa said every customer who comes into the store is treated with kindness and respect.

“I think it’s very special that our people are so caring and can work with anyone,” she said. “People who have any type of foot issue, or if they’ve been injured—our team doesn’t bat an eye at any of it. And everyone who comes through our door is special.”

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