They made their first steps back in 1924 when husband and wife team, Charles and Eveline Clinkard opened their first shoe shop in Middlesbrough. The business model was simple, provide high quality shoes and a first-rate customer experience; values that continue to influence the day to day running of the company, from product selection to customer service.
1930 – 1949
1930’s and 40’s – The Patter of Tiny Feet
Following the Second World War, Eveline Clinkard introduced children’s shoes to the store and they quickly became a success. Charles and Eveline had four children of their own which led to correctly fitting children’s shoes becoming a passion of Eveline’s and she would personally measure and fit children who visited the shop. Ensuring that children’s shoes are correctly fitted remains a core principle of the business.
1950 – 1959
1950’s – Expansion
In 1950, the second Charles Clinkard store opened in Finkle Street in Stockton. That same year, founder Charles Clinkard decided it was time to retire, leaving a thriving company for Eveline and their sons Colin, John and Roger to grow. The three boys were determined to take the business to new heights and three years later the company expanded once more when we opened our third store in Redcar.
1960 – 1969
1960’s – Adventures in Wholesale
The company continued to grow during the 60s with a forth store opening in Northallerton. Roger Clinkard also decided to explore a new business venture and founded wholesale business Intershoe, innovatively importing winter boots from Scandinavia. Intershoe remains a core part of the Clinkard brand and currently represents Gabor in the UK.
1970 – 1979
1970’s – Passing the Torch
The 1970’s saw the opening of our flagship store in Newcastle’s brand-new Eldon Square shopping centre as well as the opening of our Leeds store, our first store outside of the North East. The company celebrated its 50th birthday in 1974 and, in that same year, Colin Clinkard joined the business full time after selling his accountancy firm. In 1976, after 52 years with the business, Eveline decided that it was time to retire, passing the running of the business to her sons
1980’s – A New Era
The 1980’s saw the company go from strength to strength with new stores openings and Roger Clinkard becoming President of the Independent Footwear Retailers Association. He added to that success a year later when he won Footwear Personality of the Year at the Independent Footwear Retail Dinner – he was the first person to receive the accolade! In 1989 Roger’s son Charles joined the business after working in retail management at Bally Shoes.
1990 – 1999
1990’s – Keeping It in The Family
In 1991, the company opened its new offices and warehouse premises, Eveline House, at Preston Farm Business Park. Four years later, Charles Clinkard (grandson of founder Charles) was appointed a Director. A year later his cousin, Rachel Clinkard, joined the company to boost the merchandising department. The end of the decade saw Charles appointed Managing Director, a moment he says is the proudest of his life.
2000 – 2009
2000’s – The Digital Age
As the Millennium dawned so did major changes for the company. In 2004 the company launched its online store and expanded further in 2008 when it took over 12 stores from Stead and Simpson. The internet quickly became a huge part of the business and enabled us to reach customers who couldn’t make it to our retail stores, including customers internationally!
2010 – 2019
2010’s – Looking to The Future
Celebrations resounded in 2012 when the company was named Best Footwear Multiple Retailer at the Footwear Today Awards. Twelve months later Managing Director Charles was named Footwear Personality of the Year and picked up a Special Recognition Award at the North East Business Awards. The awards continued in 2014 with the company winning Best Footwear Multiple Retailer at the Footwear Today Awards for the second time. 2014 also saw the introduction of Istore – an in-store facility allowing customers to view and order from the full range of shoes. In 2016, it became clear that we had outgrown our head offices and so we made the move to new custom-built offices back in Middlesbrough, the town where it all began.