The best place to buy a pair of shoes is Delray Beach.
That’s according to the National Shoe Retailers Association, which selected Mark Denkler as the 2016 Retailer of the Year.
Denkler humbly said it is a great award to win and is a testament to the city.
He was recently awarded the honor during the association’s annual leadership conference in San Antonio, Texas.
He owns Vince Canning Shoes in Delray Beach, Florida, with his wife LaRonda. He is a third-generation retailer. His grandfather opened the store in 1952, and the Denklers purchased it from his uncle in 1994.
In 2015, Denkler bought a second store, Tootsies, which first opened in 2006. The Denklers have quadrupled Vince Canning sales during their 22 years of ownership.
He said he didn’t know he was even up for consideration for the award. There are about 2,000 shoe stores that are part of the association and they can submit nominations. A committee of former winners and officers select the winner.
Denkler has served on the association’s board and various committees. He was chairman of the board of directors in 2012 for a two year term. He continues to serve on different committees.
In addition to having a successful store, Denkler said the winner must be active in the community and hold leadership positions.
His civic contributions have included being an elder of his church, as well as the church’s bookkeeper and Finance Committee chair. He has also made multiple mission trips for the church, to varied places, including Namibia, Africa; a Native American reservation in Montana; and Asheville, NC, where the mission group worked on home re-building.
He serves on the Downtown Delray Beach Taxing Authority, overseeing economic development of the city’s Downtown Taxing District. He is also chairman of the Delray Downtown Merchants & Business Association; past chairman of the Delray Beach Parking Management Advisory Committee; and past president of the Delray Beach Rotary Club, where he spent 18 years as its Scholarship Committee chairman.
Vince Canning Shoes started the annual Stiletto Race in 2012. Contestants, both male and female, run specific distances in high heels, either as individuals or as members of a relay team; all proceeds from the race go to a local non-profit organization which provides day care to children of low-income parents, allowing the parents to work.
The race is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Jab. 27.