Editor’s Note: Shortly after Cameron Swallow joined her husband, President John Swallow, at Carthage in August 2017, she decided to get to know her new home. She kicked off a “Welcome Home Tour” and invited Carthage students, faculty, staff, and alumni to be her tour guides. She started a blog and traveled with Carthaginians to different spots in Kenosha, Racine, and beyond.
Now in year two of her husband’s presidency, Cameron is continuing the Welcome Home Tour in order to get to know Carthage — and its people and connections — even better.
Carthage’s director of Health and Counseling Services, Lydia Zopf ’06, wears cool shoes. And she buys a lot of them here in Kenosha at Chiappetta Shoes. She invited me to experience this hometown treasure back in the fall, but we had trouble coordinating schedules until January when news of an annual winter sale gave us an extra incentive to find a matching date.
It was particularly good timing for me, as I had visited the podiatrist earlier in the week and learned the technical name for a problem causing me pain. Chiappetta has staff trained in treating foot problems, not just fitting a shoe but working on correction as well. As soon as I mentioned the term ‘supination,’ the employee, a fourth-generation Chiappetta, was on his way to fetch the best orthotic inserts to correct it. He also had advice about better and worse styles to choose for such inserts. I did not meet his father, Fred, but Fred is the current owner and grandson of the founder, Pasquale Chiappetta who came to Wisconsin from Italy in 1920.
Lydia and I tried on many pairs of shoes, and I was happy to replace my very old athletic shoes under professional guidance. She bought boots with colorful panels, and I bought a cute and practical brown leather moccasin. I also walked around the store several times in a pair of brightred shoes that I loved, but that didn’t take the inserts perfectly. I decided to leave them for another day, after seeing whether the inserts (also purchased there) would solve my problem and make shoe shopping more fun in the future.
Between trials and consultations we talked about Carthage, the Health and Counseling Center which she has directed for the past two years, and her own student days where she met her husband, sociology professor Bradley Zopf ’05. John and I met as undergraduates as well, and we spent a chapter living and working back at our alma mater, too. Lydia and Bradley have two young sons, but I think she is the only member of her family who is a regular customer at Chiappetta Shoes. She did mention that her mother has also fallen in love with Chiappetta and now treats it as a destination when she comes to visit.
I love finding local, multi-generational family businesses, and it amazes me that there are still so many here, even in the 21st century which often feels completely dominated by the giant mega-corporations. I look forward to returning to Chiappetta, once my feet have healed, to see what’s new and distinctive right here in Kenosha.
See for yourself
6821 39th Ave.
Chiappetta Shoes website
Be a tour guide
Your turn! Want to show Cameron Swallow your favorite part of Kenosha? Be a tour guide.