Retailer Spotlight: Wards

Wards has served local communities throughout the East Midlands region since its early beginnings in 1954 when Eric Ward opened the family’s first shop in Worksop. Seven decades later, the business is now run by Justin Mansfield and his wife Alison, who is the third generation Ward, to run the family business. With 40 years combined experience working in the shoe industry, both in wholesale and retail, the husband-and-wife team bring a wealth of knowledge to their customers and we were thrilled to catch-up with Justin in this next edition of our Retailer Spotlight.

Wards shoe shop

About Wards

Wards has two stores selling Start-Rite shoes. These shops are located in Bakewell & Belper. Both beautiful Derbyshire market towns, you will find the Wards shops located in the centre of the shopping areas. The team have traced the Bakewell store to being a shoe shop all the way back in 1897, showing their dedication to proudly maintaining a shoe shop legacy in the town.

Our partnership story

Wards have been selling Start-Rite shoes most recently for around 10 years, but the Ward business also stocked them when it was founded in 1954. Justin claims that they choose Start-Rite because the shoes always offer great quality and fit, which is most important to Ward customers. With Start-Rite, the shop team are reassured that they’re providing their customers with the best solution for their children’s feet.

Quality in children’s shoes

The team at Wards is dedicated to selecting styles from multiple manufacturers to offer customers the very best in choice, innovation, style and comfort, and every member of the team is expertly trained by Justin and Alison to fit children’s shoes with precision. Currently, the whole business is very much focused on First Shoes styles and school shoes, working hard to educate parents on the importance of expertly fitted footwear for this busy developmental period from first steps through to school days.

Wards shoe shop

Favourite Start-Rite shoe picks

Justin admits that his customers and staff love the Start-Rite Strike style because it fits so many feet and offers great value for money, being a super hardwearing school shoe.

Ward shoes today

As with many dedicated Start-Rite retailers, the Wards shops have many long-standing team members, one of whom has been serving customers in the shop for over 50 years! Wards are pleased to provide all their customers with a loyalty rewards scheme, where customers can earn discounts off their future purchases, and are the first to hear about news and offers.

Wards is also a charitable business. They donate all proceeds from selling carrier bags to Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield and they have Shoe Aid boxes situated in store to collect and repurpose worn shoes. Shoe Aid works to eradicate footwear poverty and reduce footwear waste and its impact on the environment, and Wards are thrilled to be able to support them.

Wards is another example of a Start-Rite retailer in tune with our values of quality and integrity and our mission to educate parents and protect little feet throughout their development. We’re thrilled that two such highly trained and committed people at the helm of this successful business choose Start-Rite shoes season after season.