Thursday, October 07, 2004

Albuquerque Tribune: With a new battle plan, Z-coil is ready to strike

Albuquerque Tribune Online

Looking more like a broken shoe than a prototype, the original blue-and-white Z-Tech shoe still sits in the showroom.

That first shoe, with a giant spring in the heel and a flap of foam rubber hinged to the bottom, was built in 1994 by Al Gallegos in Espa§ola as a prototype running shoe.

Since then, Z-Coil Shoes - from its name to its marketing plans to its distribution networks to its sales - has changed and grown.

Andres Gallegos, Z-Coil executive vice president, said sales of the company's shoes have increased 270 percent in the last year and he's expecting sales to grow another 250 percent in 2003.

Gallegos credits two things for the increase.

The first is the company's marketing plan.

"Nike's age target is like 14. Ours is more like 55," he said.

Instead of trying to offer the shoes as competitors for Nike, the company is marketing them to people with foot, leg and back pain. The new slogan is "Pain relief footwear."

The Z-Coil shoes have a built-in orthotic, or firm plastic brace, that is similar to that of an orthopedic shoe.

"We were talking to our customers who said they bought our shoes. Most said they bought them for pain reduction and pain relief," said Jean-Paul de Jager, director of promotions.

By Dan Mayfield
Tribune Reporter

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