Pedestrian Shops – Building a lasting business one step at a time


Since 1969, the family-owned Pedestrian Shops has been dedicated to the mission of encouraging customers to enjoy life and take a walk. They achieve this goal through a simple formula, providing quality goods and friendly personal service.

“I feel like part of the extended family,” admits Whitney Maurer, an Assistant Manager who has been with the store for nine years.

Between the Village location and the Pearl Street location, Pedestrian Shops has roughly 12 employees, all of whom have been with the store for at least a year. That’s not the only retail trend Pedestrian Shops seems to be bucking. Although the store offers the convenience of online shopping, it accounts for only a fraction of their business. Many more people opt to visit their brick-and-mortar shops.

“We are known for providing our customers with a personable, full-service experience. We take the time to answer questions and provide suggestions one-on-one. Footwear has more storefront longevity for this reason, it’s still relevant,” says Whitney.

A Boulder mainstay for nearly 5 decades, founder Richard Polk started out by selling footwear from the back of his van. From there, he opened a small storefront across from Boulder’s courthouse, before moving to their current Pearl Street address. The Village location followed about 25 years ago. Known as more of the “local” spot, this location focuses primarily on footwear and small accessories.

“Our Village store is great because of the convenience and variety of shops surrounding us. It’s not an overwhelming mall, but you can visit us, then get your groceries at Sprouts or run to McGuckin’s,” says Whitney.

Environmentally conscious from the outset, Pedestrian Shops became the World’s first solar-powered shoe store back in 2008, a title they still hold today. Additionally, all employees are offered an Eco-pass for Boulder’s city bus system, something Whitney uses daily in lieu of owning a car.

Richard’s daughters, Lauren and Zoe, continue to run the stores and oversee buying. They also manage the tight-knit team of employees that in some ways mirrors the demographics of Colorado itself. Among them: three Boulder locals, a couple Colorado locals, and the rest transplants from across the country. Yet they all share a passion for Boulder’s outdoors which allows them to test the very products they sell. For example, if you ask Whitney, Chacos (which also got their start in Colorado) are the essential summer sandal.

“We are always looking for the newest, coolest, fashion-forward-yet-comfortable shoes,” says Whitney.

While the products and best-sellers may have changed in the company’s long history, the strong personal service they have built their business on has not.