THERESA KOGAN, 57, of Bella Vista, owns Lester’s Shoes for Men, on South Street a 12th. The store, aforetime Lester’s on South, had been a accoutrement on South Street a 9th for decades and was a admired of arresting Philadelphians, from boxer Bernard Hopkins to above ambassador John F. Street. Kogan’s husband, Jeffrey, 62, had endemic the business and bankrupt it in July 2008 aback he retired. On March 16, the abundance reopened. I batten with Theresa.
Q: Why’d you aing and afresh reopen?
A: Jeff took over the abundance in 1988 from the aboriginal owners, Lester Margolis and Howard Lapin, who opened it in 1958. Aback Jeff retired, I was teaching at Haverford Middle School, and I took aboriginal retirement in 2011. Last year, our sales rep for Stacy Adams said the cast capital to bazaar shoes afresh on South. I was attractive for article to do and anticipation I could use my teaching abilities to advertise shoes and Jeff could be my mentor.
Q: Your customers?
A: Men, mostly African-American, 40 to 75 years old, attractive for the Stacy Adams appearance shoe, but we additionally accept casuals and comforts. Some are walk-in, adolescent guys aloof starting jobs and attractive for an inexpensive, ample accidental shoe like Nunn Bush. We additionally get earlier barter from Jersey and Delaware who are accustomed with Stacy Adams and buy two or three pairs at a time. A lot are aggregation who dress up on Sunday or for appropriate occasions.
Q: Your best accepted shoes, and their cost?
A: Stacy Adams’ “Madison” is a lace-up dress shoe and a basic in the African-American association that earlier barter know. They appear in suede, covering and high-top in black, amber and blue, and amount $99.
Q: What’s appropriate about Stacy Adams’ brand?
A: You’re accepting a absolutely well-made, complete shoe that’s adequate at an affordable amount point.
Q: What differentiates you from added stores?
A: We accept the best price. We pride ourselves on claimed account and appropriate orders. If we don’t accept a blush you like, we accept a appropriate accord with Lenny’s Shoe Repair and we can get shoes dyed. We accept advanced widths and ample sizes , as able-bodied as belts and socks, and creams, cleaners, brushes and shoe copse to affliction for your shoes.
A: Competition from big-box outlets like DSW who never acclimated to backpack Stacy Adams, and online retailers. We’re additionally rebuilding the business. Aback you are bankrupt for seven years, it’s like starting over.
Q: How big a biz?
A: A part-timer helps me ameliorate boxes and does all the stacking. Aback we closed, we were affairs 100 pairs a anniversary sometimes. It’ll booty two years to get aback to area we were.
On Twitter: @MHinkelman
Published: October 5, 2015 — 5:45 AM EDT Philadelphia Daily News
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