Designer shoe store receives $1,000 grant from ‘Back to Bellefontaine’ fund
A Bellefontaine High School graduate has brought a shoe specialty store to the downtown area.
Drew Benton first opened 937 Solez, 132 W. Columbus Ave., in October 2019.
Thursday, Benton’s business received a boost from the K. Wagner Back to Bellefontaine Fund.
Tara Wagner Bair, Community Health and Wellness president and CEO, presented a $1,000 check to Benton to be used for marketing and promotion purposes.
Ben Vollrath, Logan County Chamber of Commerce president, said the fund was started in 2012 by Wagner Bair to honor her late husband, Kim Wagner, who was Progressive Specialties Company in Bellefontaine president.
“He (Wagner) was a major entrepreneur in the area,” Vollrath explained.
Wagner Bair said Benton is the first recipient from the fund, which was created to support young men and women who choose to stay or come back to Bellefontaine to open their own entrepreneurial businesses.
“To give to someone like you doing something like this, he (Wagner) would so about it,” Wagner Bair said to Benton. “I’m honored to be a part of this. I’m really excited for you and I know he’d been thrilled.”
Vollrath said Benton was the first-ever applicant for the program and his approval was unanimous.
“We’re excited to help him out and get the business running,” he said.
Benton first developed his interest in business when he bought a pair of Kevin Durant shoes for $100, and later sold them for more than he paid to purchase them.
“That started the trend for me,” he said. “I thought it was kind of a cool, unique market for shoes that we have now. And it’s pretty cool to be able to do this in Bellefontaine.”
Benton said as a Bellefontaine native, he was aware that there weren’t may shoe stores in town.
“People have to go to Columbus or Dayton (to get shoes),” he said. “I played basketball here and had to get my shoes in Columbus … I thought it would be really cool to start something in Bellefontaine we don’t have too much of.”
937 Solez carries shoes, clothes and accessories for men, women and children.
“We have a little bit of a variety of everything you don’t see around here too much,” Benton said.
Some of the brands he carries include Nike, Adidas, Vans, Converse, Ugg and Timberland.
Benton said his business is more like a boutique.
“I carry a certain variety of sizes and styles,” he said.
And despite his main clientele being high schoolers and individuals up to age 30, he does his best to accommodate everyone.
For more information, visit 937 Solez or call 844-7265.