Stocking the most popular styles of footwear and handbags -- the ones everybody has -- could be a financial boon for a shoe store, but it just won't do at Feet First (4119 Magazine St., 899-6800; www.feetfirststores.com.
"We want to be a unique one-of-a-kind boutique," says Evie Poitevent, daughter of owners Eads and Debby Poitevent, who opened Feet First 30 years ago. "We want everything to be fresh, feminine, girly, fun, fashion-forward, but not overly trendy."
After Hurricane Katrina, the Poitevents closed the French Quarter store they had operated for 25 years and focused on stocking their Uptown outlet for locals. The business became a true family affair. Everyone works on the sales floor, Debby and Evie do the buying and Evie also handles advertising and marketing, son Sam handles computer and inventory issues and develops the Web site, and Sam's wife, Dayna, helps on the weekends.
Business has been brisk as people update their wardrobes with footwear, jewelry, handbags, shawls, scarves and other items Feet First carries. One of the store's draws is reasonable prices.
"We definitely are always looking to save people money," Evie says. "We try to provide the deepest discounts we can, but we find it is more important to provide quality at a good value."
One of her favorite features is a "personal shopper" service in which they keep a wish list for customers, special-order shoes for them and call them when items they favor go on sale. Feet First also holds quarterly Girls Night Out events that feature jewelry trunk shows, free wine from Sip, "nibbles" from The Savvy Gourmet and martinis.
To help with recovery efforts after the storm, the store sells "ReNew New Orleans" T-shirts, with part of the proceeds benefiting New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund and locally produced T-shirts with a rhinestone fleur de lis on front.
Shop at Whole Foods Market Arabella Station (5600 Magazine St., 899-9119) on Wednesday, March 1, and help charities dealing with coastal restoration and industry, neighborhoods, families and entrepreneurship. Whole Foods Uptown will donate 3 percent of its sales on Wednesdays from March 1 through April 19 to one of eight charities. On March 1, Desire NOLA will be the beneficiary.