Arciuolo’s is proud to be the oldest and most established shoe store in Connecticut. We offer intangibles that other stores cannot match: tradition, a century of experience, and quality care and attention to every customer, every time. The following is an account of how we came to be through the memory of Matt Arciuolo Sr and his wife Pauline. It is a story of hard work, determination and passion.
On January 22nd, 1918 Francesco Arciuolo and his wife Nancy welcomed the birth of their first son, Matthew Joseph Arciuolo in Monte St. Angelo, Puglia, Italy. Francesco’s family tree was full or cobblers and shoe makers for centuries and Francesco was no exception. In 1920, he moved his family from Italy to the small town of Bridgeport, Connecticut in search of a better life. In 1921, Francesco founded Arciuolo’s Shoe Store in Milford on Naugatuck Avenue, specializing in both shoe sales and repair.
Sadly, in May of 1927, Francesco suffered a fatal heart attack at the young age of 35, leaving his widow Nancy alone to not only raise 5 children, including 9 year old Matthew, but also run a full service shoe store. Matthew worked hard to help support his mother and siblings, putting everyone else’s needs ahead of his own. At the age of 13, he quit school to focus solely on the family shop. Matthew focused on selling and repairing shoes while his mother managed the store and his sister, Madelyn took care of the finances. Matthew kept the business running successfully through the Great Depression and into World War II, until he was called upon to help defend his country. Upon his return, he wed his sweetheart Pauline Serravalle in 1946 and the couple continued to run a business that was quickly becoming known as one of the best in town, both in quality of service and product. Matthew worked tirelessly to provide his community with shoes that they could be proud of and look forward to wearing everyday. In addition to running a successful shop in town, Matthew also worked as a volunteer firefighter for the community. In November of 1958, Pauline gave birth to Matthew Jr., their first son and Matthew Sr.’s eventual successor.
At age 11, Matt began washing windows and sweeping floors for the family business and gradually took on more and more responsibility all while learning the tricks of the trade from his father. He learned everything there was to know about the business, from proper shoe fitting techniques to the crafting of orthotics. After finishing college at the University of Bridgeport, Matt took on a leadership role at Arciuolo’s and gradually developed a reputation that was as good as his fathers. As the shoe store became more and more popular, both Matt Sr. and Matt Jr. saw the need to expand. In 1989, the store was moved to downtown Milford, to a building right in the middle of the city’s beautiful green. Shortly after the move, Matt Jr. and his wife Felicia welcomed the birth of their first child, Matthew Joseph Arciuolo II. Although the business was well established as one of the state’s oldest and most popular shoe stores, Matt saw an opportunity to further expand the business. He In 2000, he decided to deepen his knowledge and understanding of feet and foot health by becoming a Board Certified Pedorthist, a specialist that focuses on biomechanics, pain management and performance enhancement. Shortly after attaining his certification, Matt founded Footstar Orthotics, a company specializing in custom orthotics for men, women and children. Footstar Orthotics quickly grew to statewide, and then national recognition as a provider of quality, custom orthotics designed to relieve pain and improve mobility and performance. Footstar was even chosen to sponsor the U.S. Olympic bobsled and skeleton teams, both of which earned medals wearing Footstar Orthotics.
In 2005, Arciuolo’s Shoe Store welcomed the addition of Jamie Bean, a young man who would become an essential element to the business and Matthew Arciuolo II, who shares his family’s passion for the business and what it means to the community. Arciuolo’s is currently thriving and has become a Milford landmark, recognized statewide as Connecticut’s oldest and most celebrated shoe store. Come see for yourself the store that tradition and family values built.