Rob Kaufman

Rob Kaufman

Rob Kaufman

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Show Date: August 7th, 2019

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Rob Kaufman, Owner
New Balance Stores of San Antonio
The Strand • The Forum • Quarry Village

Bob Kaufman is a 4th generation San Antonion.

Ever since he was a little boy, Rob Kaufman has been surrounded by shoes. With a large family that moved to the San Antonio area in the late 1800s, Kaufman was basically born into the industry. In 1892, his family first established the Kaufman family business in San Antonio. Selling everything from dry goods to shoes and attire, Kaufman’s became a household name. The store even supplied uniforms to the Pearl and Lone Star Breweries. In addition to Kaufman’s, his parents opened the first Red Wing Shoe Store in San Antonio in the 1960s.

For as long as he can recall, Kaufman has also been involved in sports. Whether it was intramural leagues, softball, golf or basketball, he has always had a knack for physical activity.

After receiving his accounting degree from the University of Oklahoma, Kaufman joined the family business. In the 1980s—after 13 years in the business—he sold Kaufman’s, moved into commercial real estate and then transitioned in the late ‘80s into financial planning.

In 1995, Kaufman joined the family’s Red Wing Shoe Store. Throughout his time at Red Wing Shoe Store, he always gravitated toward the idea of fitting people for the right shoes—not just selling the them–and when he heard about New Balance, he immediately realized the brand’s strength and knew it was the perfect match. There was a similarity between New Balance and Red Wing in that both brands offered a broad range of size and width options, an aspect that greatly appealed to Kaufman. So in 2002, he made his New Balance dream a reality.

Now a proud business owner of New Balance San Antonio, Kaufman has made it his personal goal to make every member of the community healthier, from the feet up. His motto “When your feet feel good, your whole body feels good” fully embodies the New Balance San Antonio brand.

Introducing New Balance San Antonio

In April 2002, Kaufman opened the first New Balance San Antonio store located at I-10 at Huebner. Now, approaching its 20-year anniversary, this store remains one of the most successful New Balance stores in the country. A few years later in late 2005, Kaufman unveiled the second New Balance San Antonio store in the Forum Shopping Center at I-35 and Loop 1604. And most recently, he expanded to the Quarry Village in February 2010.

An important distinction is that Rob Kaufman is the sole licensee for New Balance in the San Antonio area. While a franchisee pays royalties equal to a percentage of sales to the franchisor as well as an upfront fee payable to the franchisor, a licensee does not pay any royalties. A licensee may pay an upfront fee and is typically bound to buy product from the brand. This description does not apply to an arrangement whereby the brand enters into a contract with the licensee.

When asked why he chose to build three stores in a span of eight years, Kaufman replied, “I liked the idea of building something significant. I’m a dreamer and I always wanted to dream big.”

Throughout his time as a business owner, Kaufman has learned three very important lessons—to be ethical, tenacious and to pay close attention to detail. Kaufman places strong priority on being ethical with both internal and external customers. To him, treating people fairly and with respect, and developing the art of service recovery (the ability to immediately make something right for a customer, including going the extra mile) are essentials to being a successful business owner.

Tenacity is also a lesson that Kaufman learned firsthand. On a day-to-day basis, he is uncompromising when it comes to core standards. Whether Kaufman is dealing with the execution of sales processes or associate coaching and professional development, his focus is firm. And in the midst of making his big dream a reality, Kaufman has always paid special attention to the finer details. Raised in a culture of being cognizant to detail, Kaufman makes this a critical component of the business model at New Balance San Antonio.

“It’s important to notice everything at every touch point that you have with a customer,” he said. “From the way the store looks to making sure there are no fingerprints on the glass to the way we answer the phones, it’s all about differentiating ourselves in the marketplace.”

Defining the Role

While Kaufman is involved in ongoing business and hiring processes at each of his three San Antonio locations, he has transitioned from a store manager and sales associate to a true brand ambassador for New Balance San Antonio. He has built a dream team of 20 associates, all of whom have a vested interest in fitness, are high energy and personable, and understand the anatomy of the foot and footwear.

“I want people to leave our store and say that this is the best retail experience they’ve ever had,” Kaufman said. “I’m competing for that space in the consumer’s mind.”

These days, much of his time is spent on strategic planning, marketing and product purchasing. Yet Kaufman tries to reinvent himself and the New Balance San Antonio business every single day, seeking new strategies, participating in various community events and programs, partnering with local organizations (including Girls on the Run), and speaking to businesses and groups on the importance of foot health and fitness.

“It’s a challenge to reinvent yourself in this dynamic business environment,” he explained. “And that’s why I enjoy it so much. Dreaming and coming up with new ideas is what keeps me going.”

The San Antonio Spirit

To Kaufman, San Antonio is much more than just the city in which he lives and works; it’s a wonderful place filled with great culture, history and uniqueness. And the New Balance San Antonio brand that he has established embodies all of these qualities. With a fervent focus on the physical well being of the city, Kaufman sees San Antonio embracing a more fit and health-conscious lifestyle—a concept that he supports in his personal life as well.

And even with his passionate business values and strong work ethic, Kaufman believes in work-life balance. Even after working a full day, Kaufman ensures that he has plenty of time to spend working out, traveling with family and catching up with good friends over a great round of golf.

“New Balance San Antonio has given me the opportunity to live my dream,” Kaufman said. “It has provided me a path that I enjoy, suits my abilities and gives me a platform from which to help others and my community. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Married, two daughters; two grandchildren.

About the author:

I took early retirement in 1995 from Kodak and I have been in the real estate business since then. During my Kodak career my family lived in six states and we owned thirteen homes. I held positions as Food Trade Manager, Attractions Manager for Florida, Director of Sales Promotion, National Account Manager to HEB Grocery Company and National Sales Manager – US Military – Worldwide. In the twelve years since I retired from Kodak, I’ve been in the real estate business. My entry into the business was through two major agencies; one a local upscale boutique company and the other a very large local operation of a national franchise. I found both (plus most others in the business) to be more oriented towards gross sales and less towards taking care of the needs of the consumer. As a result, I formed my own company. I have three agents besides myself in the company and two staff personnel. Approximately ninety percent of our business comes from direct referrals plus we represent all of the relocating employees for three corporations. Each week I host the area real estate show, Real Estate Focus, on NewsTalk 930 KLUP, Saturdays at 11:00am. The show also streams live on my web site , and on In addition, Bjorn Dybdahl, owner of Bjorn’s Home Entertainment, and I host the San Antonio Movers and Shakers Show that airs at 10:00 am each Saturday from the same station and web sites. The real estate show deals with area real estate information and the SA Movers and Shakers show honors the education, business, civic, and public leaders who keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive in our city.

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