It was a choice when our founder, Eric Alon, opened our first WSS store 35 years ago, not in a distant mall, but in the heart of a lively city neighborhood. It was a choice to stay urban and focus primarily in working-class, underserved communities, opening over eighty stores throughout neighborhoods in California, Nevada, Arizona, and recently, Texas. It was a choice to hire locally, to promote from within consistently, to respect and elevate our neighbors — all of these were conscious and careful choices. And business, like life, is about choices, and these choices define WSS. Wanting to make a difference is a choice, too. Yes, we sell shoes, but more importantly, we believe in the future and potential of the people who stand in them. You could say it was this deliberate choice—to make a difference one community at a time—that started WSS’s journey in the first place. And it's this same deliberate choice that will guide us steadily forward.