Steptoes5 East Street
DT6 3 JU
01308 421242
Open: 9 to 5, Mon-Sat

Riff Tilbury sells shoes and he does it well, but don’t imagine he’s just a man who sells shoes. He’s also a Nashville country singer, a man of strong opinions of the Radical persuasion and an ultra-marathon cyclist who once crossed the USA in 22 days.

Brought up in Hayes, Middlesex, Riff left school early and went into the print. He came to Dorset in 1969, worked for a Dorchester printer and in 1980 started selling shoes from a market stall. His Bridport stall was outside Smiths and his breakthrough came with line of ladies floral slippers selling for £1.99.

Assisted by Julie Thorne, his partner (now wife) and her brother, Jason, the business flourished and shops in Dorchester and Bridport were opened, as well as an online operation. The Steptoes name was borrowed from the TV series, a fact that amused Ray Galton, of the legendary Galton & Simpson scriptwriting duo, when he came in looking for a pair of shoes. These days, the Bridport shop is the hub and Crocs sell better than floral slippers. Personal service in a friendly atmosphere is guaranteed.