During the busy buying seasons the business owners can be seen working in-store with visiting sales reps, the floor covered in samples of the freshest, hottest, newest fashions from Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, focussed together on choosing what they hope customers will love.
Store staff “oooing” and “aaahhhing” over new arrivals, trying them on and posing in the mirrors -- “I would love to get these!”
After working with their salesperson, a customer so happy to have finally found the perfect pair exclaims, “I can’t believe how much I love them! I really love them!”
And what about all the sad feet with bunions, foot surgeries and orthotics not to mention the natural disasters of high arches, higher insteps, narrow heels, etc. that take all the fun out of shoe shopping? Then the words, “I love the comfort” spoken at the cash desk with the worn out running shoes bagged, sometimes for good.
Online shoppers also have been thrilled to find brands that fit and look beautiful with one long distance customer revisiting us saying, “I bought a pair of shoes from you. I love them! What else do you have in my size?”
It all started for Jorge Rodriguez with his family in the Dominican Republic where his father manufactures footwear locally as well as importing popular European brands, particularly from Spain. Jorge began working in the business from age 14 on school vacations learning about shoemaking and retail beginning as so many successful entrepreneurs do, with mopping the floors! Jorge went on to study business in college in Santo Domingo at which time he was promoted to assistant manager of one of the stores where, as is the custom in his country, he had to master the art of bargaining with customers. After graduation in 1990 Jorge was promoted to manager, stepping towards a future in his family’s department stores chain with a passion for shoes.
Jenny Rodriguez is from Cuba and moved to the Dominican Republic in her early teens. Growing up she, too, worked with her family in their very successful travel agency earning the technical skills and business instincts that drive her today. Jenny and Jorge met while attending the same college business courses in Santo Domingo and became friends. But it was when Jenny needed shoes that the love story began. Although Jenny’s travel business was office-based, it could also be physically demanding. Always looking great on the job was important no matter what! When Jenny needed new shoes Jorge gave her a pair as a present; Spanish Pedro Miralles sling-backs that she calls her “all-terrain high-heels,” still at work to this day.
Married in 1996, Jenny and Jorge fell in love with Canada’s West Coast while on their honeymoon to Jasper and Banff, Alberta. In 2009 they decided to emigrate to Canada with their four children and make Vancouver home. As they began looking at local business opportunities they saw a need for affordable fashion choices in quality footwear. Jorge took a sales position with a Canadian shoe retailer to learn English and earn experience working with Canadian customers.
In 2010 Ella Shoes proudly opened its flagship location on south Granville Street as well as a smaller store in Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver. Ella Shoes Downtown was opened in 2012 in the heart of the city’s busiest shopping district to growing success.
In August 2014, Ellas Shoes opened it's brand new location at Metropolis, Metrotown. Jorge & Jenny are excited to bring a new audience the extraordinary, hand crafted charm of European shoes.
The future sees Ella Shoes establishing stores in major Canadian cities; beautiful boutiques providing the very best in European footwear designs and first class service in-store and on-line.