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The Real Designer Shoe Warehouse: Dave Berger & Sons

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When we were putting together the RackedWire calendar for last week, we came across a sale notice for a place called Dave Berger & Sons, a DTLA shoe warehouse of which we'd never heard. We checked them out on Yelp: a couple of glowing reviews that offered nothing in the way of specifics. Naturally, we decided to check the place out, all for your benefit.

It's in an unassuming (by which we mean, vaguely frightening) part of downtown. The storefront is absolutely nothing special; even as we entered the lobby and found the first rack of shoes we were mainly nonplussed. The desk was surrounded by piles of recent season's Alexandre Birmans, classic Pucci sandals and Delman pumps.

Things were looking up.

It's past the lobby where the magic really happens: there's a long warehouse with stacks and stacks of shoes. Two long racks feature shoes by brand, then there's wall of racks with individual shoes by size. It could take you a very long time to make your way through it.

Here's what we loved: We're diggers. We are at our happiest when we're sorting through racks -- we suppose it has something to do with those ancient and deep-seated "hunter/gatherer" impulses that epochs of civilized life has bred out of the human animal, but whatever. There's so much to shuffle through -- stacks of Diane Von Furstenbergs here, a pile of Jeffrey Campbells there, a big stash of Marc Jacobs over yonder. We even found a significant stash of one of our favorite obscure and recently departed shoe lines, Hollywould. The store also stocks varying inventories from Kate Spade, Kelsi Dagger, Miu Miu, Kork-Ease, Tory Burch, Donald Pliner, Cynthia Vincent, Seychelles, and Vera Wang.

Another treat is the service. The place is run by a husband and wife team who offer the kind of personalized, helpful service that is pretty hard to come by these days. They're happy to help customers find shoes, they'll make recommendations and give advice (when we were there, a semi-vegetarian shopper insisted on knowing what kind of pony was the source for the pony hair on a pair of sandals -- and they got on the internet and found the information). And they each practically have the whole inventory memorized. They're friendly, but not pushy.

But the best reason to go is awesome shoes for cheap. Granted, you won't find much current season merchandise, but at 65% off the retail price, we can live with that. We took home a pair of Hollywould lemon yellow eyelet ballet flats, originally $240, for $80 and a pair of Jeffrey Campbell leopard print pony flats, originally $115, for $40. The store's hour are a little screwy, but it's so worth your while to make a plan to check it out. Monday 8am to 2pm; Tuesday to Friday 7:30 am to 2:30 pm; Saturday 8am to noon.