A woman sits toward the back of the New Balance of Princeton store in the Nassau Park shopping complex while Aaron Eggers, the store’s general manager, fits her with a pair of walking shoes.
The woman takes a few steps before deciding this pair isn’t quite right. Eggers, already anticipating this, has a plan.
He quickly grabs another pair of shoes, which the customer deems acceptable after a brief trial. She brings the shoes to the counter, and Eggers rings up the sale while chatting with her.
Meanwhile, store assistant manager, and Eggers’ brother-in-law, John Lewandowski discusses the mechanics of foot motion with another woman seeking a pair of running shoes. This customer, too, tries on a few pairs before selecting and purchasing one that feels just right.
Scenes like Eggers sizing feet or Lewandowski explaining the difference between a motion control running shoe and a stability running shoe occur every day here. In fact, Eggers said the average visit consists of multiple steps, such as discussing the customers’ needs, measuring their feet and explaining proper shoe care.
In a time where many retailers no longer measure the customers’ feet or assist in selecting an appropriate shoe, it is those actions the staff at New Balance of Princeton focus on the most.
“New Balance is still a family-owned company,” Eggers said. “That’s rare. It’s a lot of U.S.-made products. It’s a different breed. It’s about a commitment to fit and quality.”
New Balance of Princeton is a family-owned operation, as well. Eggers’ father and mother, Chuck and Angela Eggers, serve as the owners. Eggers said his father has 35 years of experience in the footwear industry, including co-founding Foot Locker and serving as vice president of The Athlete’s Foot.
Eggers said he’s worked in footwear for 15 years, including a stint as a marketing representative for Adidas. Through all his work in the industry, Eggers is convinced New Balance is the best because of its focus on fitting the customer correctly. The store carries sizes that range from infant to men’s 20 and widths from the narrow 2A to the wide 6E.
All this experience means the staff at New Balance of Princeton knows what products will best serve their customers.
“We carry the best quality product they have right now,” Lewandowski said. “We’re not an outlet. We’re a concept store.”
The store carries many of the most popular and advanced New Balance products. Running shoes like the 1223 and 1061 models are meant for serious runners that want a top-of-the-line shoe. Other products, like the 926 walking shoe, have built-in features that make it a stable, cushioned favorite. Many of the store’s 926 sales are due to a doctor advising that a patient check out the shoe, Eggers said.
The service and quality is just a factor of how New Balance of Princeton has set up its operation. The family-owned store must strive for the best because its performance becomes associated with not only New Balance but with the family as well.
“We’re here to stay,” Eggers said. “It’s our family name along with New Balance’s.”