You've probably driven past $5 Shoes and More hundreds of times. Maybe the $5 shoe sign on Orchard Road has piqued your interest more than once. But if you haven't stopped in, you'll soon want to grab your cash or checkbook and follow the signs through the construction to shoe bliss.
Artan "Tony" Ibraimi has been helping to fill the closets of mostly women and girls for the past few years since opening $5 Shoes and More at 2175 Rochester Dr. in Montgomery, on the border of Aurora. The store, located in an industrial park off of Orchard Road, opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, offering deals that Ibraimi scored throughout the week.
Ibraimi, of Aurora, sells liquidation, overstock and wholesale items at his store. All of the shoes are new and he mostly stocks women and girl styles and sizes. He also sells clothing for men, women and children, along with other merchandise that fluctuates weekly according to what deals he stumbles upon.
Currently, the walk down a flight of stairs into a large carpeted basement space leads to tables of shoes for girls and women, dozens of shiny rubber rain boots lined along the floor, racks of men's work pants and sport coats, a round table of ties, a wall of jewelry, a handful of designer-labeled purses and a stack of 100-percent pashmina wool scarfs.
"I'm always looking for deals to pass on to customers," said Ibraimi, who finally got lucky with the $5 shoe concept - his 19th business startup.
"It's always intrigued me. I don't like working for anybody," he said of being an entrepreneur.
Ibraimi, 32, said he started in the shoe business after selling purses out of his trunk in his late twenties. He learned how to buy at a discount (similar to discount stores TJMaxx and Marshalls) and turn a profit. His first weekend in business, he sold 300 pairs of shoes. The next week, 400. And so on.
"It's good for me, it's good for the community," he said. He added that many mothers are grateful for the deals and pass out his business cards to their friends.
Ibraimi also sells his wares online through eBay, Amazon and his website, www.mybulklots.com. He briefly operated a $5 shoe store on New York Street on Aurora's East Side, but it didn't catch on, he said. He and a business partner run a second location in Glendale Heights.
Ibraimi buys in small quantities and cannot reveal his sources, although many marked out labels read Merona, Cherokee and Joe Boxer. He encourages customers to check back often since his inventory is always changing.
"I'm always looking for merchandise," he says. "You can't be too picky because of the price."
Visit Ibraimi and see his latest buys at $5 Shoes & More, 2175 Rochester Dr., Unit B. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Call 630-546-9601 for more information.