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Mr. comolli

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
John Comolli had lunch with KenCPollock a/k/a Jerrysfriend (me) a couple of months ago. Shortly afterwards, and without my prior knowledge or participation, he posted the very witty "Luncheon with the Incomparable Mr. Pollock" on Ask Andy. In that piece, he highlighted the little known and five years discontinued Johnston and Murphy Handmade shoes that I had acquired. He also convinced me to disclose to forum members that I had purchased the shoes at Bennie's, a small, locally owned, chain of Atlanta shoe stores. Following glowing reports on those shoes by Rider and Shoe Fan, forum members flooded Bennie's with calls. They quickly snapped up most of the limited supply of J&M Handmades that Bennie's had left.       The experience of dealing with forum members left a big impression on Louie, one of the owners of Bennie's. He had never dealt with such knowledgeable customers before. For years, most of his customers had been typical middle-Americans, who neither knew nor cared too much about what they wore and who were perfectly happy with brands like Rockport, Florsheim and Hush Puppies. The majority of them were not even familiar with, nor did they appreciate, the best brand that he stocked in quantity, Allen Edmonds.       When a load of Grenson Masterpieces became available to him, Louie made a smart move. Although the Grenson name is not even much appreciated in England, where the majority of shoes sold under the brand's own name are only of middling quality, Grenson also produces the Masterpiece series, some of the world's best ready-made shoes. Those models are mostly sold under the private label of some of world's finest shops in New York, London, and Paris; names such as Paul Stuart, Poulson Skone, New & Lingwood, Foster & Son, Henry Maxwell, and La Cordonnerie Anglaise. Louie took a risk, reasoning that he had found the perfect match; a superb, but not well known (under its own name) brand and several thousand potential customers who really appreciated the finest, and who were not be misled by lesser quality, coupled with a big advertising budget, such as most of Polo's offerings.   The rest is history. There was a buying furor over the Grensons among forum members and readers. The N.Y. Times was intrigued by many of the brilliant posts of panel members about shoes and clothing, and was obviously impressed by the attention being paid to the little known brand of shoes. It wrote a good story. The forums got a national reputation. Members and readers of the panels have obtained some remarkable shoes; Grensons, and before them, the J&M Handmades, for a fraction of their value. Because I wear a common shoe size, I have been able to obtain more than a dozen pairs, either J&M Handmades or Grensons, at a very good price. The only one who did not come out very well was Mr. Comolli. Although he wanted to participate fully, he was only able to pick up a couple of Grensons, and not a single J&M Handmade, due to the fact that he wears an unusual shoe size.     Mr. Comolli is an old-fashioned Southern gentleman, a lawyer who practices in Athens, Georgia, but who has a home here, in Atlanta. He would be embarrassed to death if he knew that I was going to post this, but he deserves some recognition for playing a major role in all of this. But for his original post, probably much of this would not have happened. Ken Pollock
post #2 of 4
I've enjoyed Mr. Comolli's posts and participation as well as yours, Ken. Mr. Comolli appears to value many of the traditions of conduct and dress that underpin this country. He deserves credit as you mentioned. Whether he wishes to accept it is, of course, his decision.
post #3 of 4
A tip of the hat to jerrysfriend, Mr. Comolli, Bennie's, Louie and Chris. My two pairs of Grensons are the finest shoes I own. Thanks to you all.
post #4 of 4
I have been one of the worst offenders, lauding Mr. Pollock while seeming to overlook Mr. Comolli's contributions to our recent footwear Renaissance.  This I regret.  (Not the rebirth, the oversight.)  And I would welcome the opportunity to try to make it up to him whenever he finds himself in Frisco. Of course, Mr. C. must bear some of the responsibility himself.  For it was his own inspired press agentry that brought Mr. P into prominence in the first place.   "Luncheon with the Incomparable Mr. Pollock" was a classic.  What we now need is a companion piece.  How about "Tiffin with the Ineffable Mr. C."?
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