The Brown’s Shoe Fit Co., which for 25 years has anchored a spot on Jackson Street in downtown Roseburg, selling popular brands and custom made orthopedic shoes, is closing for good.
Company President Tom Brown said the closure is due to a variety of factors, but the outfall from COVID-19 was not one of them.
“This was not a result of the COVID-19 situation, although it helped us make this decision,” Brown, 72, who is the grandson of the company’s founder, Win Brown, said by phone from his office in San Luis Obispo, California.
Instead, the decision to close was based largely on the current manager wanting to leave to manage a store in Colorado. The size and location of the Roseburg store — it’s among the smallest in the chain and the only one in Oregon — also were factors, Brown said.
“It became apparent that we should take the inventory and put it in our other stores,” Brown said.
Brown said that in 1995 the company took over another independent shoe store that had been in that spot. That is the formula that Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. has mainly used throughout its existence, he said — buy independent shoe stores located in downtown areas and bring in a managing partner to run them.
“All stores operate as independent units that cater to the local community,” Brown said.
He also said he has come to Roseburg about twice a year since the store here opened and always enjoyed his stays. The Roseburg store has three employees, Brown said, and in addition to those jobs lost the closing leaves a void for customers.
“Our hope is that the landlord can find another shoe store to go in there. There’s no question that Roseburg needs another shoe store,” Brown said. “We’ll do everything we can to help find someone else in the industry to take that space. The building is set up to run a shoe store.”
Brown’s Shoe Fit sold everything from steel-toed work boots to Birkenstocks to the latest in running shoes. It was also one of the few shoe stores around to sell custom-fit orthopedics shoes.
The Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. dates back to 1911, when Win Brown opened his first shoe store in Shenandoah, Iowa. The company is still headquartered there today. The company grew over the decades and today there are more than 80 Brown’s Shoe Fit. Co. stores, virtually all of them located in 12 midwestern states.
“We have enjoyed our time in Roseburg, and we are sad to be leaving,” Brown said. “But sometimes business decisions are not ones we necessarily want to make.”