Payless ShoeSource is playing Santa this season. The retailer is planning to give $1 million worth of shoes — more than 65,000 pairs — to children and families through charities for the holiday. The idea for the giveaway came about after employees began discussing the challenges facing everyday consumers. “One morning, a few of us got together and were concerned about what was happening in the overall economy and what would happen to our customers who were most in need,” CEO Matt Rubel told Insider. “We saw that unemployment was going up and people were having other material and financial challenges. We know it impacts our communities and we stepped up to do the right thing.” The program, launching on Paylessgives.com, works with nonprofits across the country that serve children and families.
Insider recently chatted with former Jones Apparel Group President and CEO Peter Boneparth for the first time since he left the firm in July 2007. Boneparth, who spoke Oct. 28 at a conference hosted by retail consultant Emmanuel Weintraub Associates, said that due to a rigorous noncompete agreement with Jones, he can’t resurface in the retail industry until March 2009 — if at all. (He couldn’t even disclose whether he would like to work again in the footwear or retail sector.) Aside from being elected a board member at Kohl’s Corp. earlier this year, Boneparth said he is enjoying his time off, pursuing hobbies such as golf and spending time with his family — a 14 year-old son and 18- and 20-year-old daughters. While he declined to name the company, he said he’d soon accept a board seat at another firm outside the retail space.
Run, Ruthie, Run!
If you know Ruthie Davis, you know she rarely wears anything other than 5-inch heels. So Insider was shocked to discover that Davis is a marathon runner. The designer abandoned her stilettos on Nov. 2 to run the New York City Marathon for the second time. “I had the best day. I was shocked at how strong I felt,” said Davis. “It wasn’t my first marathon, but I haven’t done a marathon in 15 years. So I was definitely somewhat apprehensive.” After finishing in an impressive 4 hours, 10 minutes, Davis said she’s officially been bitten by the marathon bug. “I am so pumped and I want to do it again next year.”