Wednesday, July 11, 2018

After nearly 40 years, Foot Gear Plus is closing on 1st Avenue and St. Mark's Place


[Photos by Stacie Joy]

Tony Scifo, who opened Foot Gear Plus at 131 First Ave. and St. Mark's Place in 1980, recently made the difficult decision to close his family-fun business at the end of the month.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the store yesterday and spoke with Scifo. Here are excerpts from the conversation...


"The 31st of July is the last day at Foot Gear Plus. I made the decision to close about three months ago. After several years of peaks and valleys in business there were just too many valleys. Companies now sell direct to consumers and once they started offering free shipping it was all over. This is happening everywhere, not just locally.

We offered great merchandise and great service — no gimmicks. But we just can't compete with online.

The landlord wanted us to stay. She offered us a fair price and she's been great. We just couldn't make it.

We're cleaning out merchandise now — everything is 20 percent off with limited stock/sizes. Prices might drop a little bit more before we close for good, but we might not have too much more inventory. Come in now if you need shoes but there's no hard sell. You can save a few dollars.

We have no plans to have an online store and no plans to reopen. After 40 years I want to spend time with my family and see what's next. You know in 40 years I don't think we ever opened even a few minutes late."





Village Kids Footwear, which Tony's sister Linda Scifo-Young operated a few storefronts away, closed late last summer.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this.

Anonymous said...

Sad

Lorcan Otway said...

We will miss the best neighbor anyone ever had.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that they are closing, but I have to say that since I was a teenager in the 80s, they have regularly turned me away for having a larger foot size (first size 10 W, then size 11 W). Every few years, I'd try again, thinking well, maybe they changed and have started stocking larger women's sizes, but no, so I finally gave up and started shopping elsewhere where I wouldn't be made to feel like some sort of mutant. I know I'm not the only one to have this experience there (women with size 10 and 11 shoes tend to "talk":), alas.

Goggla said...

I've been buying almost all my shoes here. Good quality, and they carry my favorite brand that I can't find anywhere else. Nice people, too, and I'm really sad to see them go. I can't think of another shoe store in the EV - is there one?

C.E. Lawrence said...

I'll miss you!

Anonymous said...

FUNNY. I REMEMBER THEM SINCE I WAS A CHILD AND I DONT THINK I EVER BOUGHT ONE ITEM. SORRY, IT WAS IN MY TO-DO LIST.

Carmine said...

. . . very sorry to see this go. Am I shocked? NO way. Merely indicative of what's going on all over the City and it's regrettable. Always appreciated this store and of course, wish the Family good health and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi 11:40a.m. anonymous, I am a mutant - Size 5, same issue.
Not able to find shoes, even online.
Hey Footgear! Somebody! Anybody!
Please open an online or any store that sells size 5s and under and size 10s and over - it's a niche that needs to be filled!

Anonymous said...

Such a nice family! We buys all our shoes there.. you will be greatly missed!

Scott said...

After a recent search for a new pair of sneakers ordering online only to be disappointed when I got the shoes in the mail, I went to Foot Gear Plus and they had me in a good pair of shoes in no time. Sorry to see them go.

sara williams said...

Sorry to hear this but happy that the landlord was willing to work with them. You will be missed. Happy retirement!

Mike Diaz said...

I ONLY buy shoes here because Tony and his family are such great people. Foot Gear Plus was an institution and I will miss these great people whom I’ve come to know and love.

dmbream said...

Kudos to Tony and crew for an incredible run. Enjoy the rest.

@Anonymous 12:52: check out:

https://www.thelittleshoestore.com

James NYC said...

I was saying just 4 weeks ago that this store would likely close soon; and that the corner would end up being another over priced building of condos in the EV.

It truly is sad to see one of the few remaining older EV stores close up shop.
I've lived in the neighborhood for 25 years.
I can see Foot Gear Plus from my front window; a mere 50 yards away.
I've bought shoes there a few times during those 25 years; but the truth is every time I walked in to look around, I was treated dismissively.
The sales people had absolutely no desire to actually involve themselves in helping or making a sale.
Who knows maybe they don't care for men with long hair or my casual attire was too casual for their establishment. There was a seriously high testosterone vibe in the place. Needless to say I spent my money somewhere else where.

But every so often I would stop in to see the selection and every time I received the same poor treatment regardless of how much I would spend.
And it was no better when I was shoe shopping with my daughter over the years.

Our House holed: Father Mother Daughter x 22, (and as a side note at 18 months my daughter had 40 pairs of shoes, why? Who knows).
That may give you some idea as to how much money you could have made off of this 1 family had you just improved your customer experience.

The owner should read this and know that his demise was partially brought on by the way that he ran his business and the employees he hired.

Eden Bee said...

Love that place. Another one bites the dust!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed having this store as part of our neighborhood. I patronized it a few times. However, I didn't have much luck finding the right fit. I am a man with a 8.5 EEE shoe size. As a dude, having very wide feet is a curse. Its impossible to find good, stylish shoes that fir. And to also have a half size is even worse. I was often turned away because of their lack of widths. It certainly wasn't their fault, but it was frustrating. The staff were always pleasant to me though. And the owner seemed cool. Too bad they're going :( Things really do change.

Luis Lopez said...

Gosh! It's over!