Listen (above) to Dan Gunn talk about Baggins Shoes on the Zone FM
Lower Johnson’s Baggins Shoes is yet another Victoria company that quietly goes about its business being the best in the world.
They’re called “the undisputed King of Converse” and they are located (tucked in a Hobbit hole, some might say) right here in Victoria. But thousands of people all over the world shop their online store for hard-to-find shoes. The range of colour, styles and sizes will blow you away, a virtual rainbow of sneakers.
The largest “single-door retailer” of the Chuck Taylor shoes in North America can print just about anything you want on your Converse or Van sneakers. One man asked co-owner Glenn Lynch to print a photo of his recently deceased cat.
It all started in 1969 when Glen needed a black-light to properly display his psychedelic posters. But at that time black lights were hard to come by.
The only place he could find them was at lighting wholesalers. Unfortunately wholesalers would only sell to businesses. You couldn’t only get a business license without a business address, which in those days couldn’t just be out of your home.
So to get ahold of some black lights, Glen decided to start a business. He found a second floor shop on Government Street for $80 per month, but he knocked it down to $60 in exchange for sweeping the stairs. The Baggins journey began there.
Today Baggins sells to devoted sneaker enthusiasts all over the world from their LoJo shop. To accommodate their sneaker printer, the store has expanded to include a production studio at 47 Market Square.
Already, local businesses like Reunion and Outlooks for Men have ordered unique shoes from their shop, while Baggins has partnered with local designers like Shawn O’Keefe, a graffiti and poster artist, and comic illustrator and Johnson Street comic shop owner Gareth Gaudin, to create original designs.
Head down to 561 Johnson St. or call 250-388-7022 to find out more.