When Nick Vassiliotis opened a shoe repair shop on Baileys Avenue half a century ago, size 48 stilettos weren't in high demand.
His son Miltiadis Vassiliotis didn't expect venturing into custom shoes would steer towards non-gendered heels either, but he's glad it has.
In the 20 years he's been at the helm, Civic Shoes has opened factories in Italy, China and Vietnam and they're readying to begin exporting their custom shoes to Europe.
Mr Vassiliotis has been enjoying semi stardom in Greece too, with an ACT business award earning him spots in several Greek newspapers and on Greek television.
"I was the first person to bring a 3D scanner to Australia," Mr Vassiliotis said.
With the help of the scanner, Mr Vassiliotis and his customers work together to create custom made shoes, favoured by Canberrans measuring on the upper end of the shoe ruler.
Several big-footed Canberra Raider stars are regulars. Coach Ricky Stuart and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr also foot the bill for custom made shoes.
Canberra Region Local Business Awards Project Manager Chris Jamgotchian said it's stories like Mr Vassiliotis that judges are lucky enough to discover when reading nominations.
"Every business has a story it's just about telling that story," Mr Jamgotchian said.
Lovers of large high heels and admirers of all ACT ingenuity are being encouraged to nominate a business from Monday.
The Canberra businesses which receive the most nominations will be made finalists in the Canberra Region LocalBusiness Awards.
From there, judges will use answers provided regarding how they run their business, reviews and their online presence and mystery shopper visits to determine winners. They'll be announced at a presentation evening at the Southern Cross Club, Woden in mid December.
While it's undoubtedly been a tough time for business, Mr Jamgotchian said for those who have thrived the pandemic has been a reset.
"Businesses who have been able to integrate with technology, either communicating with clients, advertising more, or moving their processes online, they've put their best foot forward," he said.
"You don't need to pivot your business entirely but maybe a couple of tweaks here and there could be the difference of coming out of the pandemic slowly or blasting out the gates."
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