Monday, December 5, 2011

Shoe Zoo Is Closing For Good - Say Goodbye To "The Zoo Keeper" And Buy Some Discounted Quality Shoes

Shoe Zoo Owner Bruce Stern and Store Manager  Susan

After almost closing his childrens shoe store last March then staying open another year, Bruce Stern, the owner of The Shoe Zoo, located behind the University Village, (2920 NE Blakely Street),  has now decided to close his store for good due to a major decrease in sales and inablitiy to keep up with his paying his invoices, with some days only one shopper in the store.

The Shoe Zoo has been a beloved, popular store for families for almost 24 years. Bruce, the owner, first started selling shoes  at Jay Jacobs, then at Frederick Nelson. Then Bruce followed in his father, Gil Stern's footsteps, who once owned a shoe store in the University Village for many years, and was constantly told about the need for a children's shoe store in the University Village, and opened his own shoe store there in 1988 called The Shoe Zoo.

Bruce told us that the store was immediately recognized as the northwest's best children's shoe store. The Shoe Zoo gradually downsized over the years, from three stores in the 1990's including Issaquah, and Redmond Town Center. 

Bruce said all the stores had very loyal customers, "but now like Seattle just not enough of them. "

Another long time fixture in the store has been Suan, the store manager, who has worked there for 15 years and Bruce said is "as loyal as can be, and will truly be missed."

Bruce said last year at this time when he was about to close:
Thank you so much for your interest in my store. It truly makes me feel blessed that over the last 23 years we made a difference to a lot of families. I feel that this is a very special area of Seattle, not only because I grew up here, but because the people in this community truly believe in family values.

But more importantly, its the thousands of families I have personally waited on over the years that has made me love this store so much. Watching a baby getting his first pair of shoes grow till I sadly have to say............I am sorry buddy, I can't fit you anymore, your too big. And then to have him bring in his child to let me fit them in there first pair of shoes. I'm tearing up right now, wow. 
Closing the store has been was a very tough decision. Honestly, the last two years have been a struggle. I tried to be more careful about over spending on merchandise. I always wanted to not only give the best service, but always have the best selection as well. Business has dropped over the last two years to the point that I can't be business as usual. I can't keep up with my invoices.
Currently all shoes in the store are 20% off, and quite a number of shoes are 30% off.

Bruce urges families to come in and buy shoes, not only because of the great selection, quality and value, but also he has many many bills to pay.   And everything in the store is for sale, including the furniture, toys, movies, equipment and more.

The store should be open through the end of March, when his lease is up. Store hours are Monday through Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday 12-5pm.

Bruce wrote Friday afternoon to his customers: 
Well, I certainly hoped I wouldn't have to write this letter, but I must. I was optimistic when we gave it one more try last year. I thought maybe we could survive with everyone knowing how tough of a time we were having. I am afraid to say it was a mistake. I just prolonged the inevitable. I couldn't have imagined it getting so much worse, but it did.

I want to thank you for your support, not only during this last year, but for the past 24 years as well. It's been very special watching your kids grow up over the years, from fitting your children with their first pair of shoes, then, in a blink of an eye, outgrowing our store. I felt a little bit more special than just your average retail store owner, maybe because you treated me that way. And for that, a heartfelt thank you.

Now, I don't want to get into too much detail, but after the going-out-of-business sale last year, I had to re-stock the entire store. Let's just say, The Zoo Keeper really needs your help. I have to try and pay for all of these shoes. So please come in and take advantage of some great savings on your shoe and boot purchases.
Starting today, everything in the store will be 20% off. Everything must go, so if you see something that isn't marked, please make an offer. I will be selling stockroom shelves, which are perfect for your garage, classic children's movies, stuffed animals, pictures, equipment, tools, benches, and much more..
Over the next few months, I will be sending out email notifications with updates and such.
I really hope to see you, it would mean so much to me.

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