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Wrestling legends to appear at new store
WSS natural
With the controversy about its facade behind it, WSS will host its grand opening on Hatch Road this Saturday with the appearance of two wrestling world legends. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, two well-known professional wrestlers, will appear at the Saturday, Dec. 6 grand opening of WSS, a new shoe store at 1342 E. Hatch Road, Ceres.

The Los Angeles based shoe store chain has been in business for 30 years and held its soft opening in Ceres on Friday, Nov. 21 and has reported a good jump in sales.

"We opened the Vegas store and a Visalia store within the same time frame and this one is beating Vegas," said Ceres store manager Moises Jaimes. "We're beating them by like $4,000 to $5,000 a day in sales. A lot of people are very enthusiastic. They're very happy that they have a place to go here in Ceres versus going to Turlock or to the Modesto mall."

WSS stands for Warehouse Shoe Sales and is better known in Los Angeles but breaking into the San Joaquin Valley market. Until the Ceres store opened, the chain came as far north as Fresno. Now other stores are being planned for Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, San Jose and possibly Oakland.

"Modesto is in the works and based on the response of Ceres, it looks like it will be finalized," said Jaimes, a 23-year employee of the chain who commutes every day from Fresno.

The Ceres store's 15,000 square feet of floor space features brand-name shoes for men, women, youth and children and infants. Vans, Puma, Nike, Jordan, Converse, Reebok, Skechers and Adidas are their biggest brands. WSS boasts that it is Nike's biggest distributor in Southern California.

WSS also carries dress and casual shoes, spring sandals, hidden wedge shoes.

"What's unique about this store is you could walk in with your whole family and all walk out with something. We have shoes ranging from $2.99 up to $200. The price ranges vary and we have all kinds."

The grand opening will kick off at 10 a.m. with the two mixed martial arts celebrities on hand sometime around noon to sign autographs and pose with fans for probably an hour, said Jaimes.

With coupons, the store will give away mini soccer balls, a free cinch bag and free dinnerware set and to the first 200 people through the door. Only one gift per person per family will be offered. Gift cards will also be given away to the first 100 people in line and two winners will receive a $250 shopping spree.

"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz, 39, is an American mixed martial artist and personality fighting for Bellator MMA. In the MMA world, he is known for his stint with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He was Light Heavyweight Champion from 2000 to 2003. Ortiz became the biggest pay-per-view draw of 2006 for his fights.

Ortiz is the CEO of the Punishment Athletics MMA equipment and clothing line. He also owns an MMA training gym called Punishment Training Center, which is located in Huntington Beach. In 2012, Ortiz became the ninth inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Shamrock, 50, is a retired American mixed martial artist, UFC Hall of Famer, and professional wrestler.

Ortiz and Shamrock have staged one of the biggest feuds in MMA history. All three fights took place under UFC. All three fights have ended in technical knockout technical with one of them having been for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

The Ceres store almost didn't happen. Company officials insisted on a façade with a signage package that was too large for city standards. The city altered the way it calculates the size of signs in order to accommodate WSS's demand for more signage. A company official said they needed the signage package because few in this part of the state are unaware of their name-brand product line.