Shoe Train

Longtime customers don’t mind waiting—even as long as three hours, they say—for Shoe Train’s attentive staff to fit their children for new shoes.

“It’s kind of the equivalent of giving your children the best foundation they can have,” says Aimee Lehrman, a D.C. mother of three who visited the store when she was growing up in Potomac. Now she brings her own kids, and “I’m willing to wait.”

Owner Marina Fradlin bought Shoe Train in 2011 from Ed Jurgrau, the founder who, at 72, still serves customers four days a week. All of the store’s employees are known for the extra attention paid to special-needs children.

“When I go to visit [Jurgrau], I’m not just buying shoes,” says Evelyne Baumrucker of Chevy Chase, who has twins with special needs. “My family is coming out of there like we visited a good friend.”

Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall, 11325 Seven Locks Road, Potomac, 301-299-9662,