The Shoe Box will soon be empty.
The Shoe Box owner Charlie Biddle confirmed the ensuing closure Friday with store closing sales set to begin next week. The store will likely close by late January.
“It’s really a sales driven thing,” he said. “The sale just aren’t up to par ... I love State College, but it’s a business decision. When the numbers don’t work for five to ten more years you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Biddle, who owned the store for 22 years, bought it in 1993 from Gilbert and Almy Levy, who founded the store in 1970. The couple, he said, moved to Florida a few years after the sale, but not before offering a helping hand.
“They were absolutely great people,” he said. “Gilbert stuck around for a while to help us. I have memories of buying shoes from them in the mid ’80s, and I was really excited to buy it from them in the early ’90s. I have a lot of memories here.”
It was Biddle’s second store at the time, his first expansion. He continued to grow and owns ten stores.
We loved it here and all of the people here.
Biddle also talked about the highlights of The Shoe Box.
Seeing generations of children grow up, buy new shoes each year and eventually bring their own children to get sized are some his favorite memories. He also thanked employees, who he said made the store possible.
He also emphasized how much he appreciated the community.
“The Shoe Box in State College has been a good thing,” Biddle said. “Just because it’s closing doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy all of our time here. We loved it here and all of the people here.”