By Brianna Brey
The displays at North Soles are stocked, brimming with quality merchandise for the holiday season. Brown and black matte leather boots, dozens of shapes, sizes and a rainbow of colors of handbags, impeccably soft cashmere scarves and handmade baby Alpaca, Peruvian gloves.
When Margaux Kellenberg-Hought started North Soles, a shoe and handbag store on the corner of Franklin and Wall in 2005, she hoped to join the ranks of other local downtown businesses in a small town that she loved.
"I've always supported small business even before I had my own. I had been coming to Bend every winter skiing since I was a little girl. This felt like home," explained Kellenberg-Hought. "There was so much going on in Bend downtown, I thought it then and I still do today. Everything that anyone is looking for is downtown."
Kellenberg-Hought said her store has a unique approach to competing with the big box, a combination of the experience an in-person interaction offers, and simply, carrying what they don't.
"We've always really cared about our customers. We sell some shoes you can get online, but people come in for the experience. We have built friendships, we know about their kids and their grandkids, they know about our kids. They come in not only for a great product, but hey know we will take care of them if something goes wrong. It's that rapport. I want to know who is shopping in my store," she said. "We carry a lot of lines you can't get on Zappos. When I go to market, I'm searching for new lines that are handmade that have a small carbon footprint. They are special items that customers can have forever."