Powered By Women: Midland Shoe – Tracy Bennett

Celebrating 30 years in business!

The 2023 Discover Basalt magazine featured of several women-owned and operated businesses that make Basalt special. Below is the full version of one of these “Powered By Women” profiles.

Midland Shoe is owned and operated by Tracy Bennett. The shoe store in Historic Downtown is best known as being the “store that sells the best shoes for the worst feet.” 

Photo by C2 Photography.

What is Midland Shoes’s success story?

Initially named Midland Mercantile, Midland Shoe opened in 1993 in the Three Bears Building (currently The Art Base) behind an antique store in the alley. It was originally a shoe and clothing store I had with my business partner Veronika Miller, who still owns Midland Clothing. A few years into the business, we decided to make it a shoe store – Midland Shoe – as there weren’t any mid-valley shoe stores. The store then moved to the space that is now occupied by the Basalt Chamber’s office. Things progressed, and I bought Veronika out. In 2003, there was an opportunity to move into new space down the block, and I have been happy there ever since.

What is it like running a small business?

The best and the worst part of owning a business is the make-or-break aspect. There is always something keeping you on your toes. It’s a constant battle with yourself wondering if you will buy the right product for your store. Will customers like the inventory, and most importantly, will they buy it? Will Mother Nature cooperate? I am truly a year-round store.

Why did you choose to do business in the Roaring Fork Valley?

Thirty years ago when Midland Shoe first opened, I’m pretty sure 90% of the small businesses on Midland Avenue were women-owned. We loved that about Downtown Basalt and still do, though now it is much more diverse.

If you would have told me 40+ years ago when I landed in the Roaring Fork Valley that I’d have this crazy, fun little shoe store, I would have said “No way.” I had been in the restaurant/retail business and not really into shoes. But my, how times have changed.

What do you love most about Basalt?

The favorite thing we like to do in Basalt is ride a bike, stroll along the river with our family and have dinner at Heather’s on the deck and listen to our amazingly talented local musicians.

What is the impact of “supporting local” to you and the business?

I thank all the people in this valley who really make it a priority to shop local. If you don’t shop local, why are we here? Don’t forget to support all the local businesses on Midland Ave. this summer. It’s going to be a challenge getting downtown ready for the next 50-100 years with all of the updates happening!

This store is in a wonderful little town that people love to explore, and customer satisfaction has always been my number-one priority. Midland Shoe has evolved into a store that sells the best shoes for the worst feet. A proper foundation is key to living life to your fullest. If we don’t have it, we will do our best to help you find it. I am a firm believer of working together with fellow retail partners. Midland Shoe, and all of our local shops, can bring that little piece of humanity to the shopping experience. Come in, and check out one of the oldest businesses in the area right in Downtown Basalt.