~ Established 2015 in Mount Dora, Florida
Amy Becker has endured plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and high arches for her entire life. That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that she and her husband, Fred Price, own a comfort shoe store.
“When your feet are hurting, it’s hard to feel happy,” she says. Fred moved to central Florida around 1988, while Amy arrived in 1990. The couple did not meet each other until July 13, 2012. “We had both decided to try one of the many dating sights after some failed relationships. We ended up on Christian Mingle around the same time and it matched us up as potential partners. When we met, it seemed like we had finally found the person we had been searching for. Turns out, we lived about five miles from each other.”
In 2006, after over 20 years in retail, Amy went back to school to get a Master’s in elementary education from Rollins College in Winter Park. Amy was a special needs teacher in Orange County, Florida. She worked with kids with both physical and mental needs. She always asked her students to “Do your Becker Best,” which was a way to encourage them to improve on their skills and not compare themselves to others. After many changes in education and a brief year teaching in Mississippi (where Amy grew up,) Fred and Amy decided to return to Florida. After a short return to teaching, Amy realized it was time for a change.
“I prayed about it,” she says. “In the middle of the night, I heard the words ‘Alegria Shoes,’ and those are the shoes I wore when I was teaching! All of my clothes revolved around shoes that didn’t hurt my feet.” Amy did a bit of research and discovered a shoe store in Mount Dora that sold the brand. In addition, the store was for sale.
“We really loved Mount Dora because it had that small, quaint, hometown feeling,” she explains. “In fact, Fred bought my engagement ring from an estate jeweler during our visit to one of the festivals, here.”
Still, financing the purchase of a shoe store would be difficult. So, Amy prayed again.
“Okay, God, if you want me to buy the store you have to come up with some money,” she says. “Retail is in my blood. In 1923 my grandfather started a women’s clothing store in Mississippi. My mother also had a store, but she had passed away. I really missed having my parents’ opinions, so I Skyped with my stepmother who lives in Cypress. At the end of our conversation, her husband says, ‘Maybe we’d like to invest.’ I was shocked. We closed on Becker’s Best Shoes in less than 45 days.”
Driving from Maitland every day was too much, so the couple rented a condo close to downtown. When the shoe business boomed, Fred left a career in mortgage banking to join his wife at the store - along with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who spends the day in Fred’s office. In 2018, the couple (who share a blended family of two adult sons, one daughter and an 11-year-old grandson, Aiden) bought their current home in Lakes of Mount Dora.
It’s just far enough out that we feel like we can go home and relax,” Amy says, laughing. “The condo was a little too close to work.”
Most evenings include watching crime shows and Amy deftly figures out “whodunit” early in each episode.
“Fred is an excellent cook,” she says. “He can make anything taste good. I kind of hate going out to dinner because it’s not going to taste as good as Fred’s cooking.”
Through their business, the couple also collects and donates shoes to Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that distributes new and used shoes to the needy in all fifty states and 126 countries.