Photo: Art Sidner
Le Sueur: Shoe-In Pro Finish
Andrew Wherley of Shoe-In Pro Finish enjoyed motocross racing while growing up in Chaska. “It controlled most of my youth,” said 33-year-old Wherley in a telephone interview. “I would work in the concrete industry to pay to race on the weekends. I started racing soon as I had my driver’s licence.”
Simultaneously, he grew up around concrete work. A general contractor lived down the street, and at age 14 Wherley began working for that contractor. He was friends with the contractor’s son, who also worked at the business.
He graduated from Chaska High School in 1998. When starting his own concrete company in 2000, he suddenly quit “A” class racing because he “no longer could afford getting hurt,“ he said. To differentiate his business from dozens of others, he chose to specialize in decorative concrete work, which was a relatively new industry in Minnesota at the time. It involved restoration and stamped concrete work.
Within the last year, he launched a line of shoes used for concrete work, from products he had licensed out from a Wisconsin company. He said, “We went to the World of Concrete Trade Show. The first product I had was a concrete finishing shoe with a flat-bottom sole for finishing and keeping dirt from your shoes inside the overshoe. Also, I brought along one pair of spiked (concrete) shoes (for epoxy work), and another pair with a textured bottom sole for doing textured concrete. We had such a big response that we decided to go to market with all three products.”
Wherley said he underestimated the size of the market. Business has been going extremely well.
He said the concrete finishing shoes retail for about $40, the spiked shoes for $80 (which he called the most user-friendly product on the market), and the textured-bottom shoes $90. He said his new company was on track to sell about 20,000 pair of shoes combined in 2014.
Shoe-in Pro Finish
Address: 1005 N. Commerce, Le Sueur