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Bargain hunters bid farewell as Arensberg shoe store prepares to shut its doors after 50 years

Tables full of shoes fill Arensberg Shoes, 825 Mass., during the store's going out of business sale. Lawrence shoppers turned out in large numbers for bargains on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008. The store is closing after 50 years in business.

Tables full of shoes fill Arensberg Shoes, 825 Mass., during the store's going out of business sale. Lawrence shoppers turned out in large numbers for bargains on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008. The store is closing after 50 years in business.

November 20, 2008

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Arensberg's' sale draws huge crowds

A downtown Lawrence store closes its doors, leaving some big shoes to fill. Enlarge video

Crowds stream through Arensberg's on first day of going-out-of-business sale

Arensberg's Shoes opened at 9 a.m. Thursday to long lines and big crowds as the first day of the 50-year-old stores going out of business sale gets under way. The video begins at normal speed and then accelerates about 45 minutes of video into four minutes. Enlarge video

Shoppers said goodbye to a longtime Lawrence business and took advantage of slashed prices during a going out of business sale Thursday at Arensberg Shoes.

The store at 825 Mass. is closing after being in business for half a century.

Arensberg employee Jessie Sears said about 100 people were lined up in the cold on Massachusetts Street before the store’s 9 a.m. opening.

Some customers said they arrived later to avoid the rush, but the store was still crowded.

“It’s a zoo, absolute zoo,” said Michael Kvasnicka, of Lawrence. “I heard it was ridiculous at about 9, 9:15 this morning, but we got here at 10 so it wasn’t so bad.”

Kvasnicka, who has been shopping at Arensberg’s for the past 10 years, said he was “bummed” about the store’s closing.

“It’s a Lawrence institution,” he said.

Sarah Truelove said she bought most of her shoes form Arensberg’s because she preferred shopping at family-owned businesses.

“I was very sad to hear that it was closing,” she said. “We really do buy all of our shoes here, and now we don’t know where to find them.”

The store will be open until 8 p.m. Thursday and is expected to close for good later this year.

Comments

whitecho 6 years, 1 month ago

the new sales tax doesn't go into effect until April 2009. so under the 10 year sunset clause everyone still has 10 years + 4 months give or take about 10 days. it's pennies. would you rather property taxes go up? omg. that would suck too, eh? tax rate here is still lower than the plaza, the legends, zona rosa & many other places that people go to get all the stuff they "must have". if people had more of a shop local attitude, then there would probably be less of a reason to raise sales tax. revenue would be staying in the community to start with. of course I'm just a small business owner who voted for the tax increases, because I have many customers who are not old enough to vote who do use the bus to get downtown, to the park, and around town every single day that it runs. that sure takes the burden off of their parents. oh, and I like the idea of a walking/biking trail that connects much of east lawrence, which is where I live & to me is what lawrence is & always should be about. you can slam me in this blog all you want .. pick apart every single thing I've said. I don't care. I'm not coming back here to read anyone's mean, overly critical comments.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 1 month ago

My first thought about the big crowd was everyone in line is thinking "hey, I can finally afford shoes here!". But that would be mean. Retail is dead, even online sales are down, and shoes are probably the last thing I would buy online.As far as bringing up the "plaza, the legends, zona rosa", most people I see at those places have kids, and there is NOTHING for them in downtown. And for sure no homeless at the legends.

Sean Livingstone 6 years, 1 month ago

Not many realize that time changes, and businesses have to go with the time and change and adapt. Businesses that use the same models they used when they first start their businesses, will go sooner or later.

justthefacts 6 years, 1 month ago

Are those signs in the picture really the going out of business SALE prices??? If so, I'm glad I skipped going. $39-$90 is what I see in the pictures, and those are still a high price to pay for shoes in this economy. Walmart and Payless shoes may not be nearly as well made, or last as long, but for people on a budget, $25 is a high price to pay for a pair of shoes. If the $40-$90 range was their SALE price, no wonder they're going out of business..... who can afford those prices? I hate to see any local business go under, but in this current economy we are going to see a lot more of it I am afraid.

backyardwino 6 years, 1 month ago

Our family had gone their for years . . . we stopped going when the service became unfriendly. (and on more than one occasion)

StirrrThePot 6 years, 1 month ago

backyardwino wrote: "Our family had gone their for years … we stopped going when the service became unfriendly. (and on more than one occasion)"_____My spouse had a similar situation. He went into their store to buy a new pair of shoes and no one made an effort to offer help or any kind of customer service. They looked a hole right through him. He went to Brown's where he found what he needed in 10 minutes and was out the door. This was about 10 years ago. We haven't been in the store since.I wish the owners well and mean no offense...it just is what it is. It is sad to see a local business close its doors nonetheless.

Danielle Brunin 6 years, 1 month ago

I was always so relieved when the owners were there because they were very kind. The tarts who worked there were not friendly and always made me feel like I wasn't good enough to be there. As far as their prices, they sold them for what they were being sold for by the companies. One example would be Campers. I found a pair online on Campers website and found the same pair at Arenberg's and they were exactly the same price of $135 (great brand too, by the way). However, I was patient and searched around online and was able to buy them for $85. Actually, if I found a pair at Arensberg's, I would try them on, find the size, and then go home and order them online. Now I'm feeling a little guilty since they're going out of business, but in this economy, you have to make your money work for you. Pretty sad.

Clickker 6 years, 1 month ago

These guys have been mailing it in for the past 10 years. Customer service here, and a number of downtown clothing stores has been poor, bordering on snobby....and that drove customers away

mimo3 6 years, 1 month ago

Ditto on the rude and snobby staff. Whenever I went in there, they acted as if they would rather be doing anything other than helping me.

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