[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.