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ron white june 2014

Canada's "Shoeru" Finds the Triple Win

June 21, 2014

Ron White has found business success in what he calls the “triple win”. He points to his annual shoe drive as a perfect example. Entering its 19th year, Canada’s largest shoe drive benefits not only those in need, but the celebrities who support the event, as well as Ron’s business, said the CEO and Creative Director of Ron White Shoes. The 1990 Retail Management grad shared this message and more as a keynote speaker at a Toronto Region Board of Trade event held June 18 at the Bata Shoe Museum.

The power of leveraging hit home during Ron’s shoe drive several years ago involving then-teenage celebrity Hilary Duff who donated some of her shoes, recalled Ron. Eager to follow Hilary’s lead, young fans brought their mothers into Ron White stores to drop off shoes for charity. The girls launched shoe drives at their schools and throughout the community, further expanding the project’s reach. “Hilary herself received accolades for giving back; we received tons of media coverage, in addition to potential new customers who had never been in our stores before. That’s when we learned about the triple win,” explained Ron.

The shoe drive continues to attract donations from a long list of celebrities including Matt Damon and Celine Dion, and has led to invitations to A-list Hollywood events, including the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.

But gaining such high-profile support doesn’t come without years of effort behind the scenes. “I would say that my primary driver of business success is persistence,” said Ron. “If you don’t keep asking, you stay where you are.”

Often called “Canada’s Shoeru” Ron marked the 20th anniversary of his business in 2013. He was named International Retailer of the Year by Condé Nast in 2011, and has five retail locations in the GTA, along with an a e-boutique that ships internationally.

Ron White is a member of Sheridan’s Faculty of Business Hall of Fame.

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