Van Hoecks Shoes closing after 70 years | News
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Downtown Grand Rapids is losing what may be its longest continually-operating store - Van Hoecks Shoes.
Owner Greg Clarin says the store has been losing money for four years. High rent and low traffic get the blame, along with an aging customer base and internet sales competition.
"There's not enough people downtown to support us because there's not enough retail down here to make 'em come down and shop it as a retail district," Clarin said Wednesday morning.
Clarin has owned Van Hoecks for the past 14 years. He says the first 11 were good years. Clarin says his store has always focused on carrying large inventory to provide shoes for hard-to-fit customers.
"We're not cultivating the young customer because they don't care about fit yet. You don't care about fit until you get to the point where you don't want to look hot anymore-- now you just want to feel good."
Longtime customers received word of the stores going out of business sale via a flyer mailed to their homes. Wednesday morning, some of those customers started filing in to "stock up" in the words of Nancy Medema of Muskegon.
"I don't know where I'm gonna get shoes after this," she said.