Businesses move out of downtown

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Clovis’ Brown Shoe Fit Co. Manager Scott Crowley said moving the company’s two shoe stores from Main Street in downtown Clovis to North Prince Street will allow them to consolidate both stores under one roof andwhile gaining increased customer traffic.

Sharna Johnson

After 40 years doing shoe business in downtown Clovis as Randy’s Shoes, The Brown Shoe Fit Co. is moving its two Main Street stores north.

The new location, beside Albertson’s on North Prince Street, offers a chance to consolidate its shoe and workboot stores under one roof, and offers more traffic, said Manager Scott Crowley.

“It’s going to be better location, there will be more traffic … We especially hate to leave when the shoe stores have been here so many years,” he said. “As a business owner, we understand the value of downtown.”

Crowley said the target date to open the new store is August 1.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield said she believes the demographics of downtown retail are changing in line with other main street shopping districts nationwide.

“I think it’s just a changing demographic. (In downtown) it’s different types of specialty shops (now). Years ago it was Woolworth and Penny’s and Sears and they all moved out in the 80’s,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s a trend of everybody moving out of downtown, I don’t think that at all. I think it will always be viable … We need pubs and little quaint places and stuff like that. They will go in when there’s a market for them.”

A year ago, Randy Dayhoff described his decision to sell his two shoe stores to Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. of Shendandoah, Iowa, as bittersweet.

News of the company’s decision to move uptown was disappointing, but Dayhoff said he understands.

“I was disappointed to learn that just because of the sentimental value of it always being a shoe store there years and years. Before us was Kenny’s, and we had it there for 40 years,” he said.

“I understand that that’s what they need to do. A business person has to make those kind of decisions.”

Dayhoff said he still owns the building and when a new tenant is found, he has final approval of whoever sublets under the Brown’s Shoe Fit lease.

Brown’s Shoe Fit isn’t the only long-standing downtown business to leave recently.

Friday, Tarpley Music Company turned in its keys to the Main Street store it has been in for 20 years.

Its new store on West 21st Street is open on a limited basis until the computer systems are up and running.

Manager Tony Eisenbraun said the downtown location had always worked well for Tarpley’s but when the owner decided to sell the building, they had to evaluate.

“The owner of the building wanted to sell the building and they gave us an option to buy it or find a new location,” he said.

So they decided to move.

“We’re excited to be where we’re at,” he said.

Property Manager Bob Burch said the store was sold to the owners of 2 Shabby Diva’s, who plan to expand their existing Main Street store, which sells Shabby Chic decor and furniture.