Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Sales Legend Walking In Different Shoes

SHARON, Penn., Nov. 20, 2008

(CBS) From the 1960s to the '90s, CBS News correspondent Charles Kuralt was "On the Road," looking for stories and people where no one else was looking. Kuralt died in 1997, and many of the people he discovered are gone as well. But the stories haven't ended. That's why we sent CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman to follow Kuralt's trail, "On the Road … Again."

It's been 25 years since Charles Kuralt set foot in Reyers Shoe Store in Sharon, Pa. And yet owners Mark and Steve Jubelirer say people still talk about the story.

"People come in asking, 'Where is that salesman I saw on TV?'" Mark said. "Larry made history."

In his original story, Charles Kuralt told viewers: "Here he comes now, out of the bullpen. The hottest pitcher in the retail shoe game today, Larry Joltin."

In a town of 20,000, Joltin sold $500,000 worth of shoes annually.

As Kuralt reported: "his stats make him the MVP."

Joltin became such a shoe-in for the national shoe salesman of the year contest -- that they stopped giving the award.

"I just wanted to be the best," Joltin said.

He used to work even after work. He used to deliver shoes on his own dime. He worked during his lunch hour. He even sold shoes to people he'd already sold shoes to.

And yet, step into the store today, and you'll find the shoe is ... on the other foot. The only time Larry Joltin comes into Reyers anymore is as a customer.

"Thirteen years I worked there. Had a fantastic time, but I was not on commission. I made a salary," he said.

Kuralt never mentioned that even though Joltin sold half-a-million dollars worth of shoes, he only brought home $425 a week.

What was his motivation, then?

"Myself. My inner-motivation was myself, just to be the best," Joltin said.

Hartman asked: "What happened to the fire about shoes?"

"The fire is there no matter what I sell," Joltin said. "It doesn't have to be shoes."

Now Joltin is the No. 1 anti-slip floor-covering salesman in the nation.

He also does tile and grout restoration. He started because he says there was hardly any competition in tile and grout -- and because he makes commission.

But in case he ever changes his mind, the shoe store's owner, Mark Jubelirer, tells Joltin: "The job is always open."

The owners say America may never find another shoe salesman like Joltin.

Unfortunately, for both Kuralt and Hartman, there was a downside to meeting someone like Joltin ... escaping him.

In his original story, Kuralt said: "Did he sell me a pair of shoes? Well, I was a little short of cash, so he took a credit card. No one walks away from the champ without a pair of shoes."

Or now … with a slip-free kitchen.