By JOHN T. WARD
This time next week, one of the longest-running businesses in downtown will turn off the lights one last time.
Footwear retailer If the Shoe Fits is going out of business, ending a run that began in 1846, its owner tells Retail Churn.
Owner Don Strohmenger declined to talk about why he’s closing the store, which is in the midst of a going-out-of-business sale. He expects to lock the doors a final time next Monday or Tuesday, he said.
Strohmenger, 62, has worked in the store for 40 years, joining his late father, Edward, who started working for Albert S. Miller Shoes at the address in 1941, and returned after serving in World War II.
Miller Shoes was the successor to John R. Bergen Shoes, which opened on the opposite side of Broad Street in 1846 and remained there until the entire block between Mechanic and East Front Street burned down in 1882, Strohmenger said.
Bergen built the current structure, at 18 Broad, and moved in the following year, he said.
The elder Strohmenger, who met his wife at the store, became a partner in the business in 1967, according to a 2001 article in the Hub. After a sale of the store, Don Strohmenger, who held onto the building, wound up evicting his successor and reopening under the present name.
Strohmenger said he hopes to sell the three-story building, which has 2,500 square feet on the ground floor and a combined 3,250SF on the upper two floors, plus a full basement. The borough has the building assessed at $1.68 million.
The departure leaves just two shoe-only stores in town: Doc Shoppe, a seller of Dr. Martens and other brands that moved to 43 Broad from Fair Haven earlier this year; and sneaker seller Rare Breed Footwear, at 16 White Street; and