In 1878 Frederick William Toenges immigrated from Germany where he had worked as a shoe cobbler. He settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana and continued working as a cobbler. Frederick soon recognized that retailing would be more rewarding and in 1891 established a shoe store at 1127 Maumee Avenue. In 1891 he married and he and his wife Elise had 10 children. Two of his sons, John and Arthur, joined their father in the business. Grandfather Frederick died in 1930 and John and Arthur carried on the business. In 1942 Arthur’s son Fred W. Toenges, began working in the store after school and on week-ends even though he was only 14 years old. In 1946, John died and Fred W. became a full time employee after graduating from High School.
Fred W. continued his education at Indiana University’s Fort Wayne campus in the study of Business and Engineering, while still working 60 hours a week at the shoe store. Fred’s quest led him to Ball State University where a pilot course in "Pedorthics" was being offered. Fred was the President of the Pedorthic Footwear Assn as well a President of the Board For Certification in Pedorthics. He served on the National Board of the Diabetic Assn and while there Co-Authored a Physicians Manual for the care of the diabetic foot. Fred also worked at Lutheran Hospital’s Crippled Children’s Orthopedic Clinic and St. Joe Hospital’s Diabetic Clinic. Fred considers the "High-Light of My Career" as being chosen by the Olympic Committee as one of 11 Certified Pedorthists (out of 1,800) to serve athletes from all nations at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
The youngest son, Ross, who is a Certified Prosthetist is now assuming the responsibilities of continuing the business into the future.