“Shoes just seemed to be a part of life,” recalled Bob. “Shoes were always a part of our family, one way or another, so it seemed natural for me to have an interest in that. I wanted to be a journalist, but that didn’t pay very well,” he laughed.
Bob Goot’s humble beginnings in Arizona grew into 34 stores, with locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Denver, Colorado. He created groundbreaking multi-impact companies during that time period.
His concept was to approach landlords of new, regional centers and negotiate up to five different leases and locations in each center. Every store would have a different name, product mix, etc. This provided landlords with the bankable illusion of an array of different stores, and created less expensive leases for the retailer.
During that time, Bob was president or board member of numerous mall associations and president of six Merchant Association shopping centers. He was an active member of Shoe Associates, which included many of the largest independent shoe chains in the country – such as Nordstrom’s and Altier’s. He also served as president of a pre-school synagogue school in Phoenix, and served on synagogue boards.
Growth and success led to a buyout of Arizona Shoe from a U.K. public corporation in the late 1980s. Soon after, he served eight years advising start-up businesses through SCORE. “We would mentor people who had ideas and wanted to open a business,” he said.
During the fall of the Soviet Union, the international arm of SCORE was chosen to evaluate the shoe inventory in Bulgaria by the U.S. government. This was in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. The Bulgarians had enormous shoe factories, but had previously only made military boots for the USSR for more than 50 years.
After the collapse, they had the factories and the people who wanted to work, but they didn’t know what to make. Bob’s job was to evaluate the shoe industry in Bulgaria. He and his wife Edry spent six weeks visiting shoe companies there, exploring capabilities and evaluating how they would interface with international needs.
He helped them understand how best to compete in the world market. They didn’t have the finesse to make the types of shoes being sold at that period of time, however, Bob steered them into making components of shoes, rather than shoes themselves. He lived to see that industry be reborn, and watched as several of those he had helped go on to find great success in a modern shoemaking market.
Ironically, Bob always felt the real gratification in consulting for SCORE wasn’t only the people who succeeded, but the ones who were saved from a financial fiasco.
Bob Goot began coming to Coronado 30 years ago. He and Edry moved here in 2003 and have called Coronado their home since.
In the end, Bob reflected on his life. “I think people have always felt a certain comfort and warmth about me. They have always felt they could be open with me. And I’m always extremely open with them.
“I accept that I’ve lost my battle with lung cancer. I’ve kept my family and friends very much in the open about this. I didn’t want anyone feeling they couldn’t talk to me about it. I think having it be an open discussion, as opposed to an open secret, has helped prepare them for what happens next.”
After battling cancer for two years, Bob made the decision to go off all treatment. During those remaining months, he used his time wisely. “There is now a certain serenity that surrounds me knowing that life’s time-card has been punched and completed,” he wrote to close friends.
“For my family there is comfort knowing that I have done the chemo, the radiation and the trial drugs. The time remaining provides the opportunity to enjoy every moment, to reflect on the wonderful friends and family that have been a part of my being.”
Bob’s moving letter to friends ended with a quote from the 1st century philosopher Seneca: “As it is with a play, so it is with life – what matters is not how long the acting lasts but how good it is. Stop life wherever you will – only make sure that you round it off with a good ending.”
Bob rounded out his life with a very good ending; motivated by love of family, and the self-assurance he had lived a good and strong life.
Bob Goot is survived by his wife Edry of Coronado, daughters Marcy, Caryn and Julie (husband Coco), granddaughter Noa, and a sister, Ilene.
Private services were held for the immediate family and Bob’s ashes were scattered at sea. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Guide Dogs of the Desert, P.O. Box 1692, Palm Springs, CA 92263 (www.gddca.org), or Planned Parenthood – organizations Bob and Edry supported in life.