Family steps forward

Editor's note: This corrects the first sentence.

COSTA MESA — Choosing a simple but memorable name is everything in the retail industry.

Unless, you're Dan Goodman and opt instead for a made-up word, "Eilatan," to represent the venture into the shoe business.

"It's a terrible retail name, but it's personal," Goodman said of the named derived from the backward spelling of his youngest daughter's name, Natalie. "We knew we wanted something close to us, something special. In terms of commercial success, I was always confident that I could figure that out later."

Goodman and his wife, Sally, opened the business together about eight years ago. The two combined their past business experience — hers as a top buyer for Nordstrom and his from varying prominent roles with big-name companies such as Target, Gap and Sears — to mold their ideal business.

The duo focused on limited distribution men's and women's shoes.

They planned to keep things high-quality, but small enough so that running the store remained compatible with raising a family, Goodman said.

The shoe selection ranges from casual Converse and Toms to Lady Gaga-inspired styles by Jeffrey Campbell and Sam Edelman.

Goodman and his wife oversaw the business together, up until she was diagnosed with cancer and became too ill. She died in May 2010 after a three-year battle with the disease. Sally Goodman was 50.

Exactly one year after her death, Goodman and his daughter opened the third Eilatan location. The new store is located in the Costa Mesa Courtyards, just miles away from the couple's Newport Beach home and Newport Harbor High School, where Natalie, 17, is a senior. The other two stores are at the Beverly Center and the Irvine Spectrum.

Behind the store's main register, an art piece done in multi-colored bold and metallic paints commemorates Sally's ongoing contribution to the store and her loved ones in her own words.

"Her grace, joy, style, passion and tremendous energy serves as a guiding force for all of us every day," the piece reads.

Natalie has expressed interest in one day taking over the business, but Goodman knows that "how you view the world at 17 isn't always how you view it later on in life."

However, Natalie is already following in her business-savvy mother's footsteps with a knack for identifying hot trends and demonstrating professional responsibility, Goodman said.

She also has "Sally's heart," Goodman said, which will carry the young entrepreneur far when it comes to business relationships.

"She has a passion for it," Goodman said. "Her shoe closet, other than being just a little messy, is a teenage girl's dream."

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