Pikolinos shoes will open first U.S. store this fall in Naples

Pikolinos, an international shoe store, will open its first U.S. location at The Mercato in North Naples on Oct. 1.

Pikolinos

Pikolinos, an international shoe store, will open its first U.S. location at The Mercato in North Naples on Oct. 1.

A Southwest Florida store owner has had his hands in the footwear business for more than 35 years.

In October, Ken Atchison will introduce Naples and the U.S. to Pikolinos shoes, a unisex line of emerging eco-friendly footwear based mainly overseas.

The first store in the U.S. is expected to open Oct. 1 in The Mercato shops in North Naples.

“I am very excited,” said Atchison, 60, owner of the new Pikolinos store.

Pikolinos promotes itself as a business that aims for design, quality and originality. They boast “comfort fashion,” rather than high fashion.

“You can tell a Pikolinos from a mile away,” said Fernando Palazzo, Pikolinos’ North American manager who is based in Spain.

“You can tell it’s something different. It pops.”

The brand promises the shoe will deliver comfort because of the way the leather is treated. All Pikolinos shoes are made of vegetable leather. The material goes through a tannery in Spain, where it is treated with all natural products.

“No one wears a mask there,” Palazzo said.

The leather stays in the tannery for at least three weeks, resulting in a product that will form to your foot and last.

“That is our key difference in the market,” Palazzo said.

That difference has local shoppers excited.

“I think they are awesome,” said Ashley Caserta. “They are very different from other retailers in town.”

Caserta, 28, is a Naples fashion consultant and Mercato shopper. Pikolinos shoes are appropriate to recommend to her clients with busy schedules, she said.

“They give you another option other then the regular flip-flop,” Caserta said. “They are comfortable and practical, and I think the price point is something that is approachable.”

The shoes typically cost between $150 and $170, Atchison said. The shop in Mercato will carry more than 250 styles.

Pikolinos are sold in more than 60 counties. America is the next big focus. The company has already begun brainstorming other U.S. locations.

Shoppers can find select Pikolinos in Natural Comfort Footwear in Mercato. They are also available at Nordstrom department stores.

“It is part of our thought process for sure,” Palazzo said. “Our product sells very well there.”

Atchison was one of the first American accounts with Pikolinos. He has been suggesting the brand expand to the states for years.

“Our strategy is not to open our own stores,” Palazzo said. Atchison pitched the idea of opening a one-brand store in Naples to Palazzo, who was convinced it was a good idea as soon as he saw Mercato.

“We are very selective of our distribution,” Palazzo said. “But, we thought it was fantastic.”

Atchison has been managing stores in Southwest Florida for 10 years. He owns several shops in Mercato and 5 Ave, including Sperry Top-Sider and Natural Comfort.

Mercato is near the intersection of U.S. 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road in North Naples. Pikolinos will be between Stage 62 Deli and Charming Charlie

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