Longtime downtown shoe retailer closes temporarily to prepare for major remodel

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Brown's Shoe Fit is temporarily moving into the vacant downtown building at 821 Massachusetts St., shown above, while it remodels its store at 829 Massachusetts St.

There are plenty of shoes on the market made for walking, but that doesn’t mean they walk themselves. Ryan Schwisow, owner and manager of Brown’s Shoe Fit in downtown Lawrence, can tell you that.

You may have seen him walking large carts of shoes up and down Massachusetts Street recently, but that is not a new exercise trend; nor, more importantly, is it a sign of trouble for Brown’s, which is one of the older retailers in downtown.

There has been some confusion about whether the store had announced closing plans. It has not. Rather, the store is temporarily moving its home of 25 years at 829 Massachusetts St. to the former Prairie Patches building at 821 Massachusetts St.

The temporary move will give construction crews time to do a “complete refresh” of the interior of the 829 Massachusetts St. store.

“It will be a whole new look when we are done,” Schwisow said.

The store has been closed the last couple of days while Schwisow and staff members move shoes from one location to the other and get the temporary store space set up. He hopes to have the temporary store operating by Wednesday.

He expects to operate out of the temporary location for at least four to six weeks, although it could be longer because of supply problems the construction industry has been experiencing. But Schwisow said he’s excited for the project. The store has not undergone any major remodeling since 2005.

He said it was a fairly easy decision to reinvest in the Lawrence store because he said traffic at the downtown location remained strong.

“Business has been really good,” he said. “It is great to be in Lawrence, I will tell you that. There is just a lot of good local support.”


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