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Shoe store owner loves working with people

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Dotty McGaha owns a shoe store on the edge of Au­gus­ta’s Harrisburg neighborhood, but shoes are not her passion. People are.

Dotty McGaha opened Goody Two Shoes in 1985 by selling shoes that had been worn by models and mannequins, displayed in windows and returned to stores.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Dotty McGaha opened Goody Two Shoes in 1985 by selling shoes that had been worn by models and mannequins, displayed in windows and returned to stores.

In 1985, McGaha and husband Wayne opened Goody Two Shoes out of a garage building at Milledge Road and Ellis Street. A decade later, they moved the discount shoe business to Milledge Road and Broad Street, where it remains 18 years later.

“This is what I do to serve my community, to serve my neighborhood,” McGaha said. “That may seem like a funny thing for a person to do, but it’s the call that God put on my life, was to sell shoes to people and make their lives better. It makes them happy.”

McGaha formed the idea for the store after a visit with her sister-in-law, who operated a similar business out of a utility building behind her Tennessee home.

“I took it as a divine appointment. I didn’t know the difference between a leather shoe, a vinyl shoe,” McGaha said.

She began by selling shoes that had been worn by models and store mannequins, displayed in windows and returned to stores. Now, she says 99 percent of the merchandise is new.

“The biggest obstacle that we have is that people think we sell worn shoes,” she said.

The store offers high-end brand name shoes for men, women and children. Over the years, McGaha has started selling accessories such as belts, jewelry, purses and men’s jackets.

The secret to Goody Two Shoes’ prices is buying products sight unseen, in bulk and selling high volumes of merchandise daily.

This allows McGaha to sell items for more than
half off the retail price, she said.

While McGaha handles the front of the business with three other employees, her husband works inventory in the stockroom.

“We do a lot of praying together,” Wayne McGaha said. “We get along really well.”

The couple, married 29 years, attend Whole Life Min­is­tries in Augusta. Wayne McGaha said they both like to give back to the community, and he praises his wife’s will to help others.

“She’s got a lot of passion for people,” he said.

Dotty McGaha had to cut back business hours to Thursday through Saturday after battling serious health problems for the past five years. She said that when she was diagnosed with cancer, she refused to utter the words aloud.

“I just really don’t look at those things like obstacles,” she said. “I told my husband, ‘I am so unimpressed with this, I’m never going to speak it across my mouth.’ ”

She declined to name what cancer she had but said she’s now healthy and “completely back in the saddle.”

Customers will drive from At­lanta and Charleston, S.C. and even schedule medical appointments and traveling plans around the store’s hours, McGaha said.

“When this business ceases to help people, then I don’t want to do it anymore,” she said.

DOTTY MCGAHA

TITLE: Owner of Goody Two Shoes

BORN: June 5, 1955

RAISED: Mobile, Ala.

FAMILY: Husband Wayne McGaha, son Chris Bonifay and daughter Joy McGaha

EDUCATION: Accounting degree from Augusta State University

HOBBIES: Stained glass artwork


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