Grantham Journal feature: Behind the shop doors - take a walk in Jennifer’s shoes
Whether you are looking for new school shoes, a pair of warm winter boots or a new pair of sandals for your holiday, you don’t have to look too far in Grantham.
With Clarks, Shoe Zone and the nearby Downtown superstore at Gonerby Moor, you will always be able to find a pair to take your fancy.
But if you suffer from problems with your feet, you may find it a bit more difficult. However, located on Wharf Road, on the corner of Norton Street, you will find J. G. Cox, a shoe shop specialising in problem feet footwear.
With no obvious sign above the shop and piles of boxes in the windows, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was closed, but Jennifer Cox opens her shop five days a week to cater for her many loyal customers.
Stocking one of the finest ranges of shoe makes, including Cosyfeet and Paddles, Jennifer has been trading for nearly 25 years.
After working for over 20 years as a chiropodist, she decided to open a shoe shop after hearing how difficult it was for her patients to find shoes to fit properly.
Specialising in problem feet footwear including bunions, hammer toes, diabetic foot problems, large size shoes, orthotics and insoles and wide fit shoes, Jennifer has amassed a loyal following of customers.
She said: “I have been a chiropodist for a life time. Over that time I have seen what ill fitting shoes can do to feet. Foot pain can have a profound impact on quality of life. My customers are no different. They struggle with all sorts of feet problems, so it’s important that they are able to find shoes that meet their needs.
“I like the fact that I am able to help them.”
Despite being busy, Jennifer still carries out chiropodist appointments from the back room in her shop.
Jennifer was born in Caythorpe and has lived in Lincolnshire all of her life, only leaving to attend boarding school when she was a child. Her nephew lives in Foston and often helps out with odd jobs at his aunt’s shop.
Before buying her Ford Ka, Jennifer was known for parking her vintage Morris Minor car directly outside the shop, which attracted its own set of fans.
She said: “It was a beautiful vintage-style car. It’s been a while since I got rid of it, but people still stop me to ask about it. I didn’t realise it was so popular.”
It is not just the car that was popular. Some customers have been coming to Jennifer for over 40 years.
She added: “My customers are like friends. I’ve grown up with them and know all about their families and lives. They don’t always come in for shoes, some just like to have a chat.”
Over the years, Jennifer has seen the town change and has tried to move with the times. She can often be found at the post office waiting to post her many parcels. She said: “I realised that I could reach more people online, so I often sell on sites like eBay.”
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Jennifer, though.
“I used to keep some of the shoes upstairs but have had to move everything to the ground floor since getting new hips. I also used to do house visits but prefer to stay in the shop now.”
Despite her busy work life, Jennifer is still up at the crack of dawn to walk her three dogs, George, Sam and Ginny, and has no plans to retire any time soon, adding: “I guess I’ll have to retire one day, but as long as I’ve got customers, I’ll keep going.”