Editor’s Note: We spoke with Mike McFarland, the owner of Gulf Soles with his wife Susan. Gulf Soles sells comfortable Florida-friendly footwear designed to improve the health of your feet. Gulf Soles is located at 2254 S. Tamiami Trail in Venice. Visit GulfSoles.com; call 218-820-4095.
Mike, what’s the story behind the creation of your new store?
I started selling Oofos sandals at the Englewood Farmers Market shortly after moving to Florida. I also sold them at other local venues including the Venice Farmers Market. Our new store Gulf Soles is part of our evolution, and it’s also an opportunity to sell other great brands such as Telics, Aetrex, Vionic, Rainbow, and Cobian. All of our footwear is comfortable and stable in support of good foot health. More details are posted on our website.
How did owning a
bowling center in Minnesota open your eyes to the issues related to foot health?
Owning a bowling center for 20 plus years made healthy footwear a high priority. All of the surfaces at the bowling center were tile and my feet paid a heavy price in terms of wear and tear. I suffered greatly from plantar fasciitis and hammer toe. All of my foot pain issues dramatically improved as soon as I started wearing my first pair of Oofos with their comfortable cushion soles.
Your wife Susan is a registered
nurse. How has her experience influenced your understanding about the
importance of orthotic sandals?
Susan brings a sensitivity about how we can provide affordable products that are good for people. Not only for their feet, but other areas too as we add other new health-friendly products at our store.
You also offer BEMER
Therapy? What is BEMER Therapy?
It’s a pulsed-electro-magnetic-field (PEMF) system for enhancing the body’s circulation system. Adults use BEMER for joint discomfort, problems with weight, immune disorders, chronic health conditions, low energy, sleep issues, digestive problems, and other uses. We did our homework and we were impressed with the testimonials.
Where are you and Susan originally from in Minnesota, and what brought you to Venice?
We are both from the Brainerd area. After we sold the bowling center, Susan became a travel nurse which enabled us to explore the U.S. for more than three and a half years. A desire for living in warmer weather brought us to Florida.
What do you like about being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur runs in the family. My parents started a tourism business bringing fishermen and their families from Minnesota to Mexico in 1971. Seeing their success ingrained in me the importance of following your instincts and working hard. I enjoy creating positive results helping others.