Saratoga Shoe Depot, a downtown staple since 1976, will close its doors for good Dec. 31

Originally Published in the Saratogian Newspaper, Print Edition, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. Click Here to Read Online. 

By SUZANNA LOURIE
slourie@saratogian.com

Saratoga Shoe Depot

Saratoga Shoe Depot at 385 Broadway, a downtown staple since 1976, will close its doors for good Dec. 31. It was sold at auction earlier this month. (ERICA MILLER file photo/emiller@saratogian.com)

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Shoe Depot, a downtown business staple since 1976, will close its doors for good Dec. 31.

The announcement comes just weeks after the store at 385 Broadway was sold at auction to Tom Newkirk, owner of Saratoga National Golf Course, for $2 million.

Saratoga Shoe Depot and another Broadway property — a mixed-use building on the corner of Spring Street and Broadway — were originally slated for foreclosure in May, but former owner Frank Panza filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to hold off auctioneers.

Unable to sell the properties, Panza lost the buildings Dec. 2, when they sold at auction for a combined $3 million.

“It’s bittersweet,” Panza said Saturday, “but I’m a firm believer that life is going to take you in a direction and you have the option to be happy or to be sad, and I’m not walking away sad.”

Looking ahead, Panza said he has no specific plans to reopen the Shoe Depot elsewhere and for now is focusing on taking it slow with his wife, Jennifer L. Flynn, while recuperating from the financial and emotional losses.

“We’re not going to relocate, at least right now, but we’re leaving it open because we don’t know the possibilities yet,” he said. “We will definitely do something, I’m just not sure where it will be.”

While Panza plans his next step, the property’s new owner, Newkirk, has apparently reached an agreement with another retail tenant — Frivolous Gal — that will move into the space next year.

Although the owner of Frivolous Gal, a boutique currently located at 18 Division St., was unavailable Saturday evening, an employee confirmed the business would be moving to Broadway, opening some time next spring.

Roughly 10 employees will be out of a job when Saratoga Shoe Depot, which has been in business for more than 35 years, closes its doors at the end of the month.

 

Longtime employees and customers were the first to be notified of the closing in an email from Panza sent earlier this week.

“My family and I want to say thank you for the way you have treated us,” the message said. “Some folks say retail is a tough racket, and I would tend to agree. It also seems appropriate to mention that 35 years ago I could not imagine how wealthy our hearts would become from something as simple as serving you. From its now deeper bottom we can say Bless You.”

The email also announced a liquidation sale that will feature price cuts on everything in the store.

All jewelry, clothing, footwear, accessories, gifts, toys, furniture (antiques included) will be 20 percent off through Monday; 30 percent off Dec. 19 through 21; 40 percent off Dec. 22 through 24; 50 percent off Dec. 26 through 27; and 60 percent off Dec. 28 through 30.