Aurora Shoe Company growing thanks to Japanese market demand

Company is looking to expand product line with belts and wallets

AURORA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - There is a small shoe maker in Southern Cayuga County that is growing bigger and bigger thanks to its very international clientele.

Aurora Shoe Company started in 1991 and continues to utilize a handcrafted approach to making its shoes tucked along the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake.

Owner and President of Aurora Shoe Company, David Binns, says, "When people come and they see the scenery and they see what we do and they see our shoes and say, yeah, that just makes sense."

The company prides itself on quality and careful handcrafted workmanship on each of the 50 steps used to make its shoes.

Binns, a King Ferry native, bought the company in 2009 that was operating just a few miles away founded by Mary Jane Dann.

The semi-retired Dann still works there sewing shoes components together.  She gets credit for carving out the company’s biggest market still, Japan.

The company was doing 100% of its business there when Binns took over and still does a large majority of sales in the country.

The market opened thanks to a chance opportunity given by a friend of Dann’s who put the shoes in her magazine.

“Another one of her customers that makes handmade silk clothes brought them to a runway that she was doing and the guy from Japan who owned a store came over and saw them on a runway with her clothing and he still buys her clothing and our shoes."  Dann tells NewsChannel 9.

Binns adds, "I think our shoes have a more immediate appeal aesthetically to the Eastern cultures, they're a little wider in the toe box, more anatomically correct I like to say."

Aurora Shoe Company makes only five styles of shoes and they come in only five colors.  They don’t keep a lot of inventory at the factory so a lot of shoes are made to order.

Binns explains, "So in this case the customer sent us a tracing of their foot and then I can match it up to our nearest length and width measurement because that introduces a whole other component into the fit of our shoes."

The Aurora Shoe Company is in the middle of an expansion project which will double the size of the factory.

Binns says he would like to start adding complimentary products to the aurora shoe line like belts and wallets.

Click here for more on Aurora Shoe Company and see their product line.

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