(NAPSI)—A fourth-generation retailer, author Martin Sneider started as a shoe salesman and rose to president, co-CEO, and chief merchant of the St. Louis conglomerate Edison Brothers Stores, one of the nation’s largest fashion shoe and apparel specialty chains.
If you’ve ever walked an American mall, then you are familiar with Bakers Shoes, Chandlers, J. Riggings, Jeans West, Oak Tree, Wild Pair, 5-7-9 shops, and Dave & Buster’s. Those and many other stores were owned by Edison Brothers, which had 2,000 stores and annual revenue of more than a billion dollars in sales when Martin Sneider headed the company.
Now 80 years-old, the St. Louis and New York retailing legend Sneider debuts as a novelist. SHELF LIFE (Forefront Books/Simon & Schuster; hardcover, $26) is an engrossing page-turner about a Jewish-American family and how their (fictional) fashion shoe empire, Fratelli Massimo, enriches, splits, and ultimately devastates three generations.
Starting with one store in the 1950s that is financed by his wife Maddy’s trust fund, Max Feldman — the self-proclaimed “sodbuster from Omaha” and brilliant founder of Fratelli Massimo — prospers during the heyday of America’s shopping malls to grow his St. Louis–based company to hundreds of locations across the United States. At industry events, Max is not just some Midwestern family business boss, but a rock star courted by suppliers, shopping center developers, and the media.
Always the devoted daughter, wife, and mother, Maddy comes into her own in middle age, exploring academic and professional interests her husband doesn’t share. Josh Feldman enjoys a close relationship with his literary scholar mother, and flourishes working alongside his father, hoping one day to take the helm of Fratelli Massimo, a career path all but promised to him by Max. As he begins to understand his father’s penchant for treachery, Josh must face the possibility that his dream to lead the company may have exceeded its shelf life.
With a cast of strong, memorable characters, SHELF LIFE provides both a grand scale family drama and a fascinating peek behind the scenes of the world of fashion footwear. Reviewers have favorably compared Sneider’s book to the television show Succession, and to the movies House of Gucci and The Devil Wears Prada.
Sneider followed his successful corporate career by teaching at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. With his insider connections, Sneider created and taught a popular course devoted to luxury goods merchandising and marketing that included trips with students to Milan, Paris, and London to visit the showrooms of Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, and Cartier. His novel SHELF LIFE brings readers on a similar journey.
A popular book club pick, SHELF LIFE is available at your favorite local bookstore or online from Amazon at https://a.co/d/6vH7tBO.