Meet The #TMFam
Tenni-Mocs has been family owned and operated since 1962. Our store has changed and expanded over the years, and so has our team... it's still all in the family!!
Let's meet the team!
My dad, Sam, started Tenni-Moc’s Shoe Store on August 1, 1962. At the tender age of 11, I started working for Dad on August 1, 1962. After school, every day, I showed up at “the Store” and did odd jobs. Learning stock and identifying shoes was the most fun. I was petrified of people, so no selling. Then one day “Dad” had to walk across the parking lot to Jenkins Market to purchase, I imagine, yogurt. It was a ritual. A gentleman came in, asked for a pair of golf shoes we had on display. Not wishing to disappoint my dad, I located the shoe in our tiny stock room and nervously brought them out. With the gentleman seated, I laced up the shoe and he said, “sold”. This was a huge sale in this little store back in 1962 as our average selling shoe was $2.99+tax. The golf shoe was $29.95+tax. Dad returned from the market to see the man leaving the store. He started jogging, not noticing a box of shoes in his hands, and thinking he needed to “save the sale”. But the gentleman simply said, “She did a great job. Thanks for the shoes.” I thought Dad was going to pee his pants.
Tenni-Moc’s has been a part of my life for 57 years. Yes, do the math. I didn’t always work at Tenni-Moc's, as I graduated from UCLA, and then taught school for 16 years. But whenever Dad needed me, I worked…summers…Christmas holiday…whenever. Dad was a delightfully compassionate and charismatic individual. He has a particular pension for peoples foot needs. That is what inspired him to open Tenni-Moc’s. He also had a “wild hair” for dogs…and so do I. We always had dogs, 1, 2 or 3 and whenever he needed help with them, he knew he could count on me. Dogs remain a huge passion of mine. But the one thing I absolutely go “flippsy-doodle” for is SCUBA diving. Last year I was diving and had a brainstorm to wear a Tenni-Moc’s Shoe while diving. I sent it to a couple of our vendors and guess what…this year I’ll be wearing a few more Tenni-Moc’s Shoes diving!
Working at Tenni-Moc’s has some amazing perks. In your wildest dreams, you cannot imagine how many pairs of shoes I have! But how convenient, I prefer shoes to jewelry, I really do love shoes!
Most do not realize what an icon Dad was in the shoe industry. He had a vision beyond anyone’s imagination. When the moccasin craze “slapped” the streets, one should not forget to give my dad that nod. He knew it was coming and didn’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer to “get ready”. It was like a volcanic explosion. The manufacturer, Guild Moccasins, was located in downtown L.A. and Dad knew he cornered the market. One day I came home from school and the store looked like a mosh pit. As I pulled up, Dad bellowed, go down to Guild Mox and pick up our order. Confused, but, again, not wanting to disappoint “Sam”, I barreled down the 605 to the 5, swung into the parking lot of Guild Moccasins where a gentleman began hauling out cartons as soon as I pulled up. “Nate”, I hollered, “I cannot fit these cartons into my car”. To which he responded, “You better fit these in your car or your dad is going to kill you and me. We unpacked all the “Mocs” on the loading dock and began chucking them into my car, my trunk, my glove box…anywhere a shoebox could fit.
I couldn’t see out my rear view mirror and barely out the side. When I pulled up to the store, I thought St. Peter was calling my name…I was “rushed” by seemingly thousands of crazed teenagers demanding their moccasins…a slight exaggeration…Dad, never not in control, put the motley crew right in minutes and began distributing the shoes. Normally, we'd closed at 5:00 but were there until past 9 P.M. Scores of customers called their friends and they called their friends. It was exhilarating and exhausting…and we laughed and laughed and laughed about “That Day” for decades to come. That, without fail, was my favorite day at Tenni-Moc’s.
That is scarcely a synopsis of who I am with Tenni-Moc’s, but more importantly, what my dad was too this store and to the shoe industry, in general. I never had a name with my dad; I was always “Sam’s daughter”. And welcomed as footwear royalty wherever I went. I now claim a new title of “Alex’s mom”. And I wear that title with equal pride. My name is Terry…I’m Sam’s “kid” and Alex’s mom.
My grandfather opened Tenni-Mocs shoe store in 1962 to bring his friends and family properly fitted shoes. I started working in the store at 13 but wasn’t even allowed to touch a customer till I was 16. I spent my Saturdays immersing myself in any knowledge he had and the story he told. While spending time with my grandfather was the main reason I started working, turns out I’m not half bad with customers. After a very brief stint at CSULB, my grandfather and I decided to open a new store together on Spring St. Unfortunately my grandfather passed away a lot sooner then we all thought and my mother took over as co-owner. We spent 12 years on Spring St attempting to keep our heads above water, me being a dumb 20-year-old and mom a retired teacher, it was hard, to say the least. And finally, a break! Our new unit on spring street is our most modern, biggest, best, “good looking”-est location yet! And I can’t wait for what’s to come! This is what I love doing!
When I realized that I’ve been doing this for over half my life, I really had to take a step back and ask if this is my passion. Being accommodative to a person that is really willing to listen and be helped is what I enjoy about working here. I love helping. I love being able to save my customers money with adjustments to shoes that aren’t taught anymore. I love fixing a problem that no other store would fix. I love seeing my customers coming back for years to come. I love the bonds we build and the community that has become my friends. And oh the stories I could tell!! Ok here’s one...
I have a customer that is about the same age as me, we grew up (in a sense) in that store. Her mom was, and still is, a very loyal customer. When her mom would come to shop with my grandfather, we would play in the back. We grew up and apart, one day I asked my grandfather if he had heard from her or her mom. I sadly found out that she was diagnosed with MS and her mom retired early to take care of her. I figured we would never see each other again and then who come rolling into my dinky shop on Spring St? My old buddy! Even though she was stuck in a wheelchair she was cute and bright and we didn’t miss a beat. I found out that she had been prescribed orthopedic shoes for many years through college and upon earning a principal position at a local elementary school, she was ready for what she referred to as her “mom shoes”(no offense to the moms out there but she was referring to white leather sneakers haha) I asked her why she would want “mom shoes” when she wanted to make an impression and be stylish. She said that she thought that was her only option because of her braces. What?! No way! There are so many options! I brought her a bunch of different styles, fun colors, and silhouettes that not only fit but were flattering. She was so happy she cried and then I cried and then we stayed friends, I love it when she comes in.
Since working here I have accumulated many, many shoes (but I do donate or throw out the worn out ones!!) My favorite shoe at Tenni-Moc’s is the Dansko Professional. They’ve never let me down, whenever I know I'm going to have a tough day- they are my go tos, my tried and trues. They’re so comfortable I leave em on when I get home to cook and chase my kids around.
I was born in Fountain Valley in January 1988. I grew up in Long Beach. I attended Bethany Baptist elementary, Stanford middle school and I graduated from Millikan high school in 2006. I meet Alex at Stanford middle school. I invited her to my birthday party and we have been good friends ever since. On our weekends when Alex was working with her grandpa here at Tenni-Mocs, I would come by and hang out with them.
I played basketball for Stearns Parks and Rec for about 6 years before playing for my high school for 2 years. During high school, I attended the PEACE Program, the Long Beach Police Explorer Program and Shaolin Kempo Karate. After high school, I worked a few different types of jobs before attending Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. I received my Certificate in Culinary Science in 2012. I worked for a few different restaurants before going back to work with Adults with Developmental Disabilities in a day program in Stanton in 2015-2016. Before coming to work for Alex in March of 2017, I worked for Mercedes Benz at the historic Boeing Hangers. I am passionate about helping others and being apart of the community. I love working at Tenni-Mocs because I am able to fulfill both of those aspirations. Also, I get to work with some really great people and this has been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, with the best shoes!! My favorite shoe is the Dansko Fawna. A beautiful Mary Jane with amazing comfort and support. I can dress them down or dress them up. Very practical and versatile.
In April of 2018, I finally got to marry my best friend and love of my life, Tim. We live together in Whittier, CA with 3 awesome cats. We enjoy watching movies, sci-fi shows, comics, and cooking. Tim is also part of our Tenni-Mocs family, he has come to many our over events, one being Small Business Saturday 2018. It was the longest, busiest day I’ve ever seen. Small Business Saturday is such an amazing day for us, and all the small businesses that participate and have been supported by our community and customers. I'm grateful got to be a part of bringing a community together to support a Long Beach legend and an amazing family.
I am originally from Indiana and I moved to California in 2012. It was never something I planned on doing but the cards fell into place and I decided to take a leap. It has been an amazing ride and I am so grateful for the family I have out here. After being welcomed by my cousin, and a few years of acclimating, I felt truly at home. I met Alex through my cousins who are originally from here. After Alex and my cousin Matt married, they opened Mattalou. I felt right at home there as well, and I attended pop-ups and spent a lot of time with our sister company. Around 6 months ago I started working at Tenni-Mocs, and it has been a great experience. Prior to working at Tenni-moc's, I worked for 12 years in Logistics at various companies. From working in the warehouse in various departments to the office in various positions I gained a lot of experience. When Alex asked me to join her team I was so excited. The experience has been wonderful.
I thoroughly enjoy making people smile, helping people and learning new things. Which has been exactly what working here has been for me. Finding the right products for our customers and helping others with their comfort and health is an amazing feeling. We have customers come into Tenni-Moc's with pain and discomfort and I can sit with them and help them leave with a smile and the assurance that we helped. Having a customer leave with a new lease on life is just wonderful. It's amazing to know that our returning customers come to see us because they trust our knowledge and that we can help them find a shoe that works for their events or daily lives.
My favorite shoes are just about anything in the Dansko line. The Professional Clog is something I wear multiple times a week. It’s so comfortable and really helps me get through being in my feet all day.
I've lived in long beach my whole life, and it's crazy that it took about 20 years to realize that there was such an awesome family-owned shoe store in town. And it's great to be a part of such an awesome team. I’ve known Alex since high school, we were fast friends and she got to know my brother and sister in school as well. When she married my brother I got the privilege to help open their "sister-store" in downtown Long Beach, Mattalou Shoe Boutique. It was great to work in a fashion-oriented company again. When Alex got the opportunity to expand Tenni-Mocs’ location in the shopping center, I got the chance to come and work with her and my brother again.
With a little over 12 years of retail experience, I find that my favorite part about working with people is being able to help my customer find just the right thing! I’ve worked at so many places, from clothing companies to See’s Candies, to currently working at Starbucks. But if I'm really being honest, what I love most is seeing the look on my customers face when they realize they found their new favorite shoe.
I realized early on that every day is something different here. Some days everyone’s looking for the same shoe, “I just want my Birkenstocks!”, and some days I get the chance to spend an hour with one person, trying on everything they want, and helping them start something new. And that's my favorite! I helped someone start a whole new "healthy" shoe collection!! She threw out all her old, uncomfortable, damaging shoes and got everything she needed to keep her feet healthy and happy!!
It's all here!! All our shoes are awesome!! But my favorite is my Oofos Oomg shoes. They have amazing support. I wear them running errands, or just around the house, and they really help my feet ( let’s be real, my whole body) relax after a long days work. I never want to take them off, they’re just like walking on clouds