Bill Gardner

An Interview with Bill Gardner of Red Wing Shoes

Author’s Note: It’s throw back time! Like most things Red Wing, this discussion with Bill Gardner, Owner of Red Wing Richmond, stands up to the test of time! Originally blogged in 2012, you’ll find that over the last 6 years, not much has changed about our approach to doing business here in Richmond. We still provide the world’s best work boots, and we still go above and beyond to provide service after the sale.

Originally Published Nov. 20, 2012

Meet Bill Gardner

During a recent interview, Bill Gardner, the owner of Red Wing Shoes in Richmond, Virginia, shared his thoughts on what separates Red Wing from the competition, what makes their boots special, and what about their approach to service has their customers coming back time and time again.

Red Wing Richmond, a Family Tradition

While the story of Red Wing Shoes itself may be well known, how it came to Richmond may not be. When asked, Bill talked about it “being a family business that my father and grandfather started in 1986 in the Richmond area.” While the first location was on Midlothian Turnpike, they’ve since expanded to a total of three locations, with the second store opening on Brook Rd and, most recently, the Chester location opening in 2007.

Bill went on to expand as to why his family committed to the Red Wing brand as their flagship brand. “We want to represent the best of the best. The best product line, the best quality boots, the most extended sizes and widths…the pinnacle of the industry…that’s why Red Wing is in our DNA.”

While it came as no surprise that the only shoes in Bill’s closet are Red Wing Shoes, he did admit to having a favorite – the Heritage Collection of handmade, hand-sewn shoes.

A Passion for Quality

The quality of Red Wing boots and shoes is clearly something that Bill is passionate about. He seemed almost giddy when talking about it. “The product line is a purpose-built footwear,” he said. “So whether you’re standing on concrete all day long…if you’re an electrician that needs electrical hazard rated…safety toe, fiberglass, steel, or aluminum – we carry it all.”

The quality of Red Wing boots is what sets them apart, which Bill was eager to point out. “All American-made finest leather, super-sole construction, the welt here is not glued together it’s actually sewn, but the stitch is on the interior as opposed to the exterior. That makes this a serviceable shoe.

“It’s resoleable, and this bottom, the dual density is made specifically for comfort on concrete or on regular ground…a lining that wicks moisture, 100% waterproof, and available in both safety toe or soft toe.”

It’s little wonder why this is Red Wing’s top of the line, highest end boot, and one that’s suited for any type of job and is the one they most recommend.

Unparalleled Customer Service

While the boots may set themselves apart from others, what sets Bill Gardner and his staff apart is their commitment to customer service and their love of the shoes they sell. With the Midlothian location they “service…shoes and boots for all three of our area locations, and also for other Red Wing Shoe stores in the Mid-Atlantic. Tied into that is the most important part of our business – service after the sale.”

Every thirty days you can bring your Red Wings in and they’ll clean and oil your boots, replace your laces if needed, rotate your eyelets, check the wear patterns on your soles, look at your insoles, and see if there’s anything they can do to make your boots more comfortable so that they help protect your back, legs, and knees from pain.

“We’re in the people business first and the shoe business second. What we want to do is come to work every day just to make a friend and the shoe thing will happen,” Bill Gardner said when asked what sets them apart from other companies.

Whether you visit one of their three locations or they come to your job site in their Mobile Red Wing Store, Bill Gardner and his staff at Red Wing Shoes in Richmond are committed to providing you the best boots and the best service. Join the conversation about Redwing Richmond on YouTube here.