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CoolShoes - Abbadabba's

Atlanta’s Premier Source for Innovative Comfort Footwear

  • Abbadabba's Supporting Small Businesses via Kiva Microfiance Loans

    Anyone who has ever tried to start a business understands the truth of the adage: “it takes money to make money.” Even in the relatively wealthy United States, obtaining loans to fund a small business can be difficult. Imagine trying to start a business in a poor third-world nation where there are no options to obtain such a loan. How do people who are willing to work hard and scrape together a new business get the funds to get started, or to expand the business they have already begun?

    The answer, for thousands of small business owners all over the globe, is Kiva.

    Kiva envisions “a world where all people - even in the most remote areas of the globe - hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.” By connecting investors - people like you and me - with business owners who need capital to thrive, Kiva “helps people in need create better lives for themselves and their families.” Your $25 loan combines with other Kiva lenders to provide the capital, and Kiva vets the borrowers so you can be confident making the loan. (Kiva’s 98.7% repayment rate speaks for itself.)

    When I discovered Kiva, and read about the wide variety of entrepreneurs supported through Kiva, I took note of the number of borrowers who were in, or wanted to be in, the shoe business. I reflected back upon the many years Janice and I worked to slowly build the capital to operate Abbadabba’s, and how we were blessed with the opportunities we needed to succeed.  I wondered if Kiva could be a way for Abbadabba’s to help other shoe businesses grow and succeed in diverse parts of the world. I discovered… it can.

    We started the CoolshoesAtlanta Kiva Lending Team in November, 2011, with the goal of “helping shoe businesses take their next step.” Since then, our team has grown to 16 members (including a lady in Sydney, Australia!) and as a team, we have made over 150  loans! We continue to re-invest as loans are paid back, so the capital we gathered continues to help again, and again. Who are the borrowers we help? Here are ten examples, and they are typical of the diversity of our loan recipients:

    Kiva borrowers - 5c Kiva borrowers 5c

    If this looks like our borrowers are from all corners of the world… they are! Just take a look at the global impact of our loans, as illustrated in a pie chart of our loans, by country:

    kiva pie 2015-06

    As you can see, our CoolshoesAtlanta loans have impacted borrowers in over 50  countries, and we continue to expand. To see the countries we’ve served more clearly, Kiva provides this map of our team’s loan recipients:

    kiva world map countries served

    The participants in our CoolshoesAtlanta Kiva lending team are proud of what we have been able to do through Kiva to help “sister” shoe businesses all over the world. We plan to keep on re-lending, and expanding, our team’s reach. Our business has been blessed with so much opportunity… and we are delighted to be able to pass some of that on to others.

    If you are interested in “microfinance” I urge you to consider investing $25 in Kiva to experience the feeling of helping somebody in this very special way. Please feel free to join our lending team, if you wish, and help us further along with our mission at Kiva. Whoever you loan to, you will find great satisfaction knowing that your loan has made a tangible, lasting impact on the lives of the recipient and that community.

    - Bill

  • The Best Shoes to Bring to Camp

    Every year around this time, we have plenty of parents coming into our stores with the same need: My child is going to summer camp soon and needs a good pair of shoes. What do you recommend?

    Our first question to the parents is usually “Does the camp have any rules against specific types of footwear?”  While Crocs and flip flops are great at the pool and for other water activities, many summer camps ban these types of footwear because they don’t offer the proper protection and support for other activities such as hiking or outdoor play.

    Most camps permit sandals but require them to be sturdy, athletic sandals that strap around the ankle.  Our most popular options are Teva, Chaco, and Keen. Teva sandals like the Tirra ($49.95)  are quick-drying and feature easy on and off velcro straps that kids can easily adjust.

    Summer-Camp-Shoes-Chaco-Sandals1Chaco is a perennial favorite among campers and camp counselors. Chaco sandals feature a solid Vibram sole and offer great support for growing feet. The straps are adjustable, and the sandals can easily be hosed off after a long day in the sun. Just be prepared for Chaco tan!

    Keen sandals such as the Newport H20 ($49.95 - $99.95) or the Kids Seacamp II CNX ($54.95) offer the quick-dry features of a Teva, and the support of a Chaco sandal, but they offer an added benefit of being closed-toe styles. If your child or teen is looking for a style that acts like a shoe but breathes like a sandal, Keen is the best way to go.

    For water-sports we also carry Adidas Boat Shoes ($54.95), which bridge the gap between sneakers and water shoes. This quick-drying outdoor shoe is light and snug for great agility. climacool® provides cooling ventilation over the entire foot, from mesh upper to drainage outsole. The non-marking rubber on the outsole grips wet, slick surfaces like boats, docks and pool areas.

    For older kids attending camps with more intensive outdoor needs, we also offer light-hiking and trail shoes, as well as a large selection of hiking socks by Smartwool, Keen, and many more!

    We strongly recommend that kids and teens alike wear their new camp shoes before the first day of camp to break them in as well as ensure a proper fit. No one wants to start off the first day of summer camp with blisters or defective footwear! We encourage parents not to wait until the last minute to purchase camp shoes for this very reason -- we want to make this summer the most comfortable and fun for your kids as possible!

  • Abbadabba’s Gives Back: PEDS Atlanta Partnership 2015

    “SLOW DOWN ATLANTA: Kill Speed. Save Lives”

    While Atlanta hasn’t known in the past for being a very “walkable” city  - words like "suburbs,” “traffic,” and “urban sprawl” usually come to people’s minds - some organizations are working tirelessly to make it MORE walkable, like PEDS Atlanta.  PEDS mission is to work with local partners to make the streets and sidewalks safer and more functional for pedestrians across Atlanta, and to work to shatter some of these impressions of Atlanta. And it’s working!

    PEDs-Abbadabbas-Janice-edited-2Abbadabba’s has always had a strong connection to the communities around each of our stores - even the ones out in the ‘burbs’, or OTP as Atlantans like to call them - and, of course, has always been committed to walking, both for health and transportation. Because of our similar goals, we found PEDS Atlanta to be a perfect local partner with which we can work together today to achieve our combined goal of a “more walkable tomorrow.”

    Two years ago we worked with PEDS on a “SLOW DOWN” yard sign campaign that was hugely popular.  You still might see some of the signs around town, especially in high-traffic surface/neighborhood streets and around some intown schools.  Because of the popularity of the campaign, and our commitment to the issue, we decided to “double-down” and boost our support for 2015.

    We are excited to announce that this year’s “SLOW DOWN: Kill Speed. Save Lives.” initiative will have twice the impact of the previous campaign, as we have doubled the amount of signs available FOR FREE to anyone who wants to send a message to drivers to take it easy on the gas, and save more lives.

    We encourage you to visit PEDS’ website for research showing what a difference just 10 mph in can make when it comes to the risk of vehicle versus pedestrian risk.  We also recommend checking out the other year-long initiatives the PEDS sponsors, like crosswalk education, working with city and regional governments on speed enforcement, and sidewalk improvements.  All great stuff!

    To pick up your FREE “SLOW DOWN” yard sign, you can stop by any Abbadabba’s location now until we run out for your yard.  We encourage individual pickup, neighborhood association bulk pickups, whatever! Anything that helps us get the message out, is good for us. [Please note: We cannot ship these signs. They are for in-store and event pickup only.]

    sign placement 400w

    Other Sources: http://www.ajc.com/news/business/most-walkable-city-atlanta-cracks-top-ten/ngMty/

    http://time.com/money/2887232/the-futures-most-walkable-cities-prepare-to-be-surprised/

  • What Makes the KEEN UNEEK unique?

    At Abbadabba’s we carry a variety of options for “water shoes” - everything from traditional KEEN Newport H2 sandals for the whole family, to Adidas Climacool Boat Shoes, to Chaco and Vibram Five Fingers! In accordance with our mission of being Atlanta’s Premier Source for INNOVATIVE and Comfort footwear, we are excited to be one of the first local retailers to help introduce the KEEN UNEEK product to Atlanta.

    What makes the UNEEK sandals “unique,” you ask?

    Keen-Womens-Uneek-Gargoyle-Bright-ChartreuseWe’re so glad you asked! The UNEEK line is a truly “minimalist” shoe. In fact, it cuts out all the extra fluff, “doo-hickeys,” high-tech features, and settle in on a simple design…two nylon cords and a reliable sole. With the adjustable cord design the shoe can be literally customized to fit your foot.

    The polyurethane sole has siping (What is siping? Think of the slits on rubber tires and how they are made to improve traction.) that allows these sandals to take you from the trails, to the boat, and even wet rocks and water. They offer true multi-surface design. Water drains easily from the corded-design, meaning your feet will dry much faster than more neoprene-enclosed water shoes. The UNEEK design is durable and comfortable enough to take you from each surface to the next without having to change footwear mid-adventure.

    If you want to learn more about the UNEEK line, we encourage you to come try them on! We promise, you’ve never seen anything like them. In the meantime, you can also watch this nifty video provided to us by our partners at KEEN.

    As weird…um, we mean UNEEK...as they are, we love ‘em! We know you will, too. But don’t just take our word for it...here are some reviews others have written:

    http://www.mensjournal.com/gear/outdoor/a-better-sandal-for-watersports-20140806

    http://gearjunkie.com/keen-uneek-sandal

    As always, your best bet is to stop in our stores, try them on and see/feel for yourself.

  • Abbadabba’s Loves: Spring Festival Season

    If it’s spring in Atlanta, it means one of two things: pollen and fun festivals.  All the talk and wheezing is about the pollen, so let’s get to the fun part...spring festivals! By now, you’ve survived the rainy winter, Easter, and hopefully a great Spring Break. Now, we’d like to highlight some of the fun festivals around town of which we’re big fans, so you can enjoy the rest of our beautiful spring...with the allergy pills in tow, of course!

    Sandy Springs Artsapalooza 4/18 - 4/19

    SandySpringsArtsapalooza.comseedo4-1_50

    From the organizers who bring us public art markets (like Festival on Ponce and others) throughout the city and are working to make Atlanta such a vibrant, colorful, and FUN place to live - the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces - this two-day event brings artists into the streets of Sandy Springs for one weekend each April. Just north of our Buckhead store, and just southeast of our East Cobb store, you’ll find a fantastic assortment of local artists, musicians, and a children’s play area.  Guaranteed fun for the whole family!

    Sweetwater 420 Fest 4/17- 4/19

    SweetWater420Fest.com

    maxresdefaultAn oldie but goodie...now bigger and better than ever! This year’s festival, which will probably top 30,000 attendees is being held in Centennial Park. What started off as a small neighborhood festival to celebrate Earth Day, has grown to a successful 3-day party, complete with local craft brew, national musicians - somebody named “Snoop Dogg” ring a bell? - and if you’re truly adventurous and well-hydrated from the night before, a 5K Race on Saturday, 4/18. (a USATF and Peachtree Road Race qualifier race, no less)

    Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes 4/24/-4/26

    InmanParkFestival.org

    Held every year on the last weekend in April and dubbed “Atlanta’s Best Street Festival” (but really...how can you choose?), the Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes has been around longer than Abbadabba’s! This year’s festival marks its 44th anniversary. Our Little 5 Points store knows this festival well, and knows that you’ll be on your feet all day, enjoying the weather, the great food and drink, and the gorgeous, Victorian homes of the Inman Park neighborhood.  It’s a great day for Atlanta history and culture...just be sure to wear some supportive walking shoes!

    Shaky Knees Music Festival 5 /8 - 5/10

    ShakyKneesFestival.com

    Each year this top-tier indie and alternative rock festival keeps growing! It’s only 3 years old, but the line-up of both national and local acts is so strong, that it draws crowds from around the entire Southeastern US. Last year’s festival drew more than large crowds, but also some rainy weather, so watch the forecasts and plan your footwear accordingly! Rain boots, Chaco Flips were all pretty popular choices last year!

    Shaky Boots Music Festival 5/16 - 5/17

    ShakyBoots.com

    shaky-bootsThis is the first year for the Shaky Boots Festival (brought to Atlanta by the same group that puts on Shaky Knees), and it’s also Atlanta’s first large-scale country-based music festival. Our Kennesaw store is excited about something so large happening “OTP,” as this festival should rock the socks off of Kennesaw State University’s Sports & Entertainment Park. Top-tier country stars, including Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, and Dwight Yoakam are sure to be huge draws, as are more regional and alt-country acts  (equally great!) acts such as Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Cracker. Check out the full schedule here, and pick up your boots, Chaco or Keen sandals here, so your shakin’ is from the music and not from bad shoes.

    Whatever your pleasure - arts, brews, tunes - Atlanta has them all this spring, both “OTP” and “ITP”.  We’re here at Abbadabba’s to make your feet feel better as you venture out and about, taking it all in. After all, we’re where COMFORT meets COOL. So, stay comfortable, stay cool, stay hydrated (*wink*), and enjoy this spring!

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