I’m not going to tell a lie, there was a time in the not-too-distant past that Finders Keepers did not appreciate SAS shoes. We occasionally took the more updated styles and passed on all others, including the classic lace-up, orthopedic-looking style they are known for often worn by senior citizens, including my mother.
Speaking of my mother, 2 years ago she showed up to church in a really cute pair of white sandals and when I admired them she informed me that one of my sisters had taken her to the SAS Store at Northlake Festival and they had both purchased this sandal in white and black. I ran right out and bought the same pair. I’m often on my feet 10 hours a day and comfort matters more than anything but these were cute.
Fast forward 2 years to this past June when our annual National Association of Resale Professional’s (www.narts.org) conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. Cassandra, our senior merchandise manager and unofficial tour guide for company trips to conference, found out that the SAS factory was in San Antonio and they had tours several days a week. Betsy and I could make the tour and did.
We learned a lot about the SAS Company and we were impressed. First, SAS simply stands for San Antonio Shoes. It is a family owned business that started in the 1970’s. Every shoe is hand-crafted and it’s quite a process. Each factory worker has their part in the shoe-making process they are responsible to complete for a particular shoe. They do their part and hand it off to the next person and so on, until the shoe is finished. They work on one style of shoe until the entire run is complete, then they start on another style.
The old-school equipment is fascinating as is the entire process of hand-making a shoe. It was like going back in time, in a good way!
Most of the factory workers are female and they have low turnover. Each worker is paid by the piece instead of hourly, so they have a lot of control over how much they make in a day. SAS has adjusted hours so many of the workers can come in early and leave at 3:00 p.m. to be home for school-aged children or grandchildren. They are a family- friendly and sought-after company to work for in San Antonio, for good reason.
The next generation is taking over the reins of SAS and it shows in more updated looks in shoes, handbags, belts and more. They have company store attached to the factory, of course, and the tour finishes there. SAS shoes are not cheap and never will be because they hold high standards for their products and pay very fair wages to their workers. Their goods are all “Made in the USA”, in that one factory.
Betsy and I tried on lots of shoes and marveled at their comfort and cuteness! We each spent money there and felt good about our purchases, knowing we were supporting a company with practices we value. So bring on your SAS shoes for consignment, (except maybe the lace-up classic), and we’ll gladly take them!