WHILE other dotcoms are being ground into the dust under the heel of disillusionment, the York-based shoe-shop.com is not only alive and kicking - but virtually tap dancing...

Perhaps a major reason for its success was the fact that it was founded by Stuart Paver early last year not on impetuous belief in the power of the 'net, but on careful experiment combined with intense knowledge of the shoe industry.

Intense knowledge because Stuart, 39, happens to be managing director of Paver Shoes Ltd, the 20-branch shoe retail empire based in York; and careful experiment because shoe-shop.com was set up only after monitoring Stuart's early Internet service called www.shoeworld.com

Stuart linked arms with Steve Cochrane, 42, whose marketing and brand building skills promoted Psyche into one of the best known designer retailers in the UK and the joint dynamism was bound to be a winner.

Now shoe-shop.com employs ten people directly, has customers in more than 50 countries and should sell close to £1 million pound's worth of shoes this year - which alone are good enough reasons for him to pitch for two categories in the Evening Press Business of the Year Awards - Small Business of the Year and Use of New Technology.

Its ability to offer more than £50 million worth of famous footwear from more than 60 brands to its growing customer base of more than 25,000 registered users and deliver quickly - between 18 hours to 48 hours from ordering are yet more reasons. And all this from a busy office and warehouse in Concorde Park, Clifton Moor.

National publications have described the operation as variously, "the ultimate shoe shop" or "web site of the week" or "knocks spots off all the rest" or, referring to its new 3D test graphics. "real innovation"

Stuart says: "It has been an amazing first year of operation that has repaid the passion and conviction in the Internet that the small team who formed the company had from the start.

"Despite the roller-coaster first year where everyone went from the impression that share option millionaire status was only a few weeks away, to practically having to apologise for working for a dotcom company, the original team is still in place."

And the reason for that, he says is threefold: communication and openness was a number one priority; feedback and input was a compulsory part of the job; and accessibility of the management "which provided a feeling of belonging and access to our dreams and beliefs."