Shoe Corp. of Birmingham is a Birmingham-based business that supplies shoes to prisons. The company grew out of the retail chain Calhoun Shoes which was founded in 1950 by the father of Shoe Corp. owner Jim Calhoun. In the late 1980s Calhoun started expanding to institutional clients. In 2001 he closed his last retail store to focus on the growing institutional business.
Shoe Corp. orders shoes from manufacturers in China and Mexico, then warehouses and distributes them to prisons, hospitals and other institutions all across the United States. Shoe Corp.'s safety shoes use wooden sole plates rather than steel, so as not to provide metal that could be sharpened into a deadly weapon. The company also offers related services to its clients, such as product design, marketing, testing and inspection, logistical services and customs and duty services. The company employs seven.
From 2000 to 2006, Shoe Corp. operated out of a 35,000 square-foot leased warehouse owned by Larry Ginn at 1415 1st Avenue South. In 2001 Shoe Corp. supplied 4,000 pairs of steel-toed boots through Propac, Inc., to disaster relief workers at the World Trade Center site in New York City
On June 8, 2006 the warehouse and all its contents, approximately a million pairs of shoes, were lost in a spectacular four-alarm fire. Transients Cedric Johnson, 44 and Yvette McCall, 42, were charged with the arson.
Calhoun estimated the losses at around $1 million, including a $50,000 shipment that had arrived on the morning of the fire. Shoe Corp later reopened at Sloss Docks. After it was cleared, the former Shoe Corp. warehouse slab served as the Shoe Factory skate spot.
- Mahoney, Ryan. (October 29, 2001) "Shoe Corp. boots going to New York City." Birmingham Business Journal.
- Williams, Roy L. and Niki Doyle (June 9, 2006) "Shoe Corp. owner plans to start over." Birmingham News.
- Robinson, Carol and Victoria L. Coman (June 9, 2006) "Blaze battle is biggest since '97." Birmingham News.