Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Brown Shoes to close after 57 years in Upper Arlington

Jeff and Patty Brown, owners of Brown Shoes in Upper Arlington, plan to retire in January, bringing to an end nearly six decades of their family’s shoe store at 2108 Tremont Center.

Jeff Brown’s father, Bayard Brown, founded the store with his wife, Marjorie, in 1964.

Jeff Brown, 67, worked at the store in high school and college and at other retailers including Lazarus before returning to the store in 1988. He bought the business from his father before his father passed away in 1990.

In 32 years of running the show, Jeff, who was born and raised in Upper Arlington, has seen first-hand the shift of retail from in-store to online.

“The number of shoe dogs around central Ohio has dropped dramatically,” he said. “At one time Columbus was a major shoe hub.”

Independent, traditional “sit-and-fit” shoe stores are a “dying breed,” said Brown, whose announcement comes a year after Easton Shoes, also in Upper Arlington, closed after 67 years in business.

With the rise of online shopping, Brown Shoes has had to adapt by offering more inventory and better customer service, Brown said.

“We used to say brands come and brands go and our name stays on the door,” he said. “Well, this is the last time we’re gonna walk out and close the door.”

Bayard and Marjorie Brown opened Brown Shoes in 1964.

Brown Shoes provided special service

When Brown Shoes opened, the shop was primarily a children’s shoe store frequented by school kids from nearby Tremont Elementary School and Upper Arlington High School, Jeff Brown said. This was the 1960s and ’70s, before leather shoes were largely replaced by tennis shoes in schools.

Upper Arlington:Upper Arlington most expensive suburb in Ohio, according to Travel + Leisure

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