Ruzek takes helm at Brown’s
WORTHINGTON — Zach Ruzek grew up around Brown’s Shoe Fit Co.
So, after graduating from college, his professional transition was natural.
“My dad has been involved with the company probably a little over 20 years,” said Ruzek, the new store manager/owner in Worthington. “I’ve grown up with it. He is now in the corporate office. I’ve seen the heights of what this company will do and how they will take care of you from Day 1 all the way through your career.”
Ruzek took over the downtown Worthington store a little more than a week ago after managing a Brown’s Shoe Fit in Centerville, Iowa.
“It’s 14 miles from the Missouri border,” he said.
He was excited about the opportunity to move to Worthington.
“It’s bringing me closer to other family and it was another stepping stone in the management process,” Ruzek said. “I love it. I love the north. I love snow. I like the outdoors. I love to hunt, fish, ice fish and snowmobile, so this fits right in with all my hobbies.”
The Brown’s store has had its share of managers in recent years. Ruzek, though, said that’s a positive for how well the store performs.
“That’s a good thing,” he said. “Let’s make that be known it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. The store thrives, it’s a good store and it’s a stepping stone process store. It is a great store to get your feet wet, so to speak. It’s a great community — they respond, it’s a loyal town. That’s where it’s a great thing.”
Ruzek said past managers have been promoted to other places within the company.
“If you’re handling your store and take care of your customers, you’re moved on,” he said. “They take care of you and watch out for you. If you’re doing everything right and what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re moved on.”
However, coming into a new place is tough, Ruzek said.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s going to be a good challenge,” he said. “It’s going to force me to come out of my shell, if you will, to get to know new people and new faces. I’m looking forward to it and excited for it.”
Originally from the Mason City, Iowa area, Ruzek graduated with a business degree from North Iowa Area Community College.
“From there, I hopped into retail and got into Brown’s Shoe Fit,” he said.
Centerville was his first experience as a store manager.
“It was scary, exciting, you went through all the emotions,” he said. “It’s fun. I like to say it’s like your baby — you watch it start to crawl, then you start to watch it walk and you see a few stumbles. But you get right back up and eventually to where you’re running. It’s a cool thing.”
Coming to Worthington, Ruzek isn’t planning too many changes.
“I don’t want to change anything too much because it’s working,” he said. “You’ll see maybe a few different brands and just keep rocking and rolling with what’s working. I’m just looking forward to meeting new people.”
Brown’s Shoe Fit, 324 10th St., is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It can be reached at 376-4160.