Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Soles4Souls to buy headquarters

Nashville Business Journal

Soles4Souls Inc., which donates millions of shoes a year to children around the world, has signed a contract to purchase a 13,500-square-foot headquarters building at 319 Martingale Road in Old Hickory.

"We are so excited to be moving into a permanent home here in Middle Tennessee," Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO, said in a news release. "For five years we have been renting various spaces and constantly dealing with the challenges of managing someone else's property. Today, however, we can say with pride that we have established firm roots in Nashville," he said.

Elsey established the charity after seeing the effects of the Asian tsunami in December 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After each tragedy, he marshalled his contacts in the footwear industry in order to send donations — a quarter million shoes to Southeast Asian and more than a million to the Gulf Coast. He founded Soles4Souls to build on those efforts.

Elsey said the charity, which employs 40 people, plans to open international chapters and build "a state-of-the-art warehouse" as it continues to grow. Locations are still being considered for the warehouse, executive vice president David Graben said.

The new headquarter building will allow the charity to move its Nashville holding facility and its corporate offices under the same roof. The company also has holding facilities in Las Vegas and Sheldon, Iowa, and well as a processing facility in Roanoke, Ala., from which donations are shipped worldwide.

Soles4Souls collects footwear from show companies as well as from the closets of donors. It has given away more than 6 million pairs of shoes since 2005. Executive vice president David Graben ssaid the charity estimates that 300 million children worldwide lack a pair of shoes, while 1.2 billion shoes sit in American closets. Visit for information about donating

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