Retirement was never really in the cards for entrepreneur Jack Budd, who at age 70 ventured into retail for the first time in his accomplished career.
Jack started Zipz Gear six months ago as a T-shirt printing business through which he developed a connection with a popular shoe manufacturer, Zipz Shoes, which was in need of custom printing. Soon, Jack found himself the official printer for the California-based company and now offers their shoes at his Old Towne store located at 115 North Orange Street in the former Juleps space across from The Movement.
Everyone who comes in and sees the shoes are amazed, Jack said. They are very popular in Europe, Asia and South Africa, and now they are really taking off in the U.S.
Made with soles that unzip from the top, the shoes can convert to different styles high-top, slip-on, or low-top all interchangeable with the same sole.
While standard Zipz shoes come in 20 different designs, Jacks company can print custom images of your choice onto the canvas portion of the shoe everything from sports logos and gaming images to photos of your pet dog. Walk-in customers are welcome to come in and watch their shoes printed to order, if time allows.
In addition to serving individual consumers, Jacks company was called upon to do large-scale orders for Zipz Shoes, including for a British company that will be selling shoes with the British flag emblazed on them for the upcoming Olympics.
Our relationship with Zipz Shoes opened a different avenue for their company and ours, noted Jack. The shoes are comfortable, youthful and stylish, plus they are great for traveling. With one sole and a variety of tops, you can wear something different every day.
Jack, who was formerly in the metal fabrication industry, says his new venture has created quite a buzz in Old Towne, especially among the University students.
Its a lot of fun because it keeps me young, says Jack. Im really enjoying it. My wife, JJ, and my daughter, Kathy, also work here, and two of the grandchildren were in the other day unpacking boxes and putting shoes on the shelf.
Published in the May/Jun 2012 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Karen Anderson, Photograph by Jeanine Hill
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