Ara appointed Sam Spears president of Ara Shoes for U.S. and Canada at the beginning of this year, replacing Chris Iorio, who has retired from the company at his own request. Spears has worked in the footwear industry for the past 25 years. Before joining Ara, he acted as national sales manager for the U.S. at Ariat, a footwear brand from California. Previously he worked as vice president for design, marketing and research at MBT in Switzerland, as director for advanced concepts and projects at Keen in the U.S., as head of global footwear for Ellesse, the brand that is part of the Pentland group, and as branding director North America and deputy branding director at Ecco. The U.S. is a strategic market for Ara, with potential for growth in the next couple of years. Ara has an office near Ottawa in Canada for logistics, financial support and customer service as well as a showroom in New York, where Spears will be based together with Ara's marketing team for the U.S. and Canada. The company's warehouse is in Ogdenburg, near the Canadian border. At the moment, Ara has about 100 clients in the U.S. and Canada.