SHORT PUMP, Va. (WRIC) — All kinds of businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, including locally-owned Saxon Shoes that had to shut its doors nearly one year ago. They made a lot of changes to stay afloat during the pandemic, eventually filing for bankruptcy in August.
But things are looking up for the popular family-owned shoe store of nearly 70 years, according to their President, Gary Weiner.
Weiner said he spent the last year constantly adapting to make ends meet. The Henrico County company has struggled to stay open for business when customers couldn’t visit the store.
“If you asked me at the end of February how we were doing, I’d say ‘oh my gosh, we are rocking!’ And then March 17 our store was closed,” Weiner said of shuttering the shop in 2020. “We had all these beautiful goods coming in, our store looked incredible. Then the doors were locked. There wasn’t a soul in the store. It’s kind of like a morgue.”
For a time, they tried selling their stock through a series of Facebook lives with curbside pickup or delivery.
“It’s hard to survive doing 50 percent of what you are used to doing,” Weiner said. “Not 70 percent. Not 90 percent, but 50 percent. But all along we kept our focus. Get to the next season.”
Then in August, they filed for bankruptcy.
“With us filing on August 14, it really gave us a pause because we had thousands and thousands of pairs of shoes that we would normally sell 80% during a season that we sold 15 or 20 percent of,” Weiner said. “It was impossible to make ends meet.”
But he said they are coming back stronger. With a light at the end of the tunnel and people coming back to the mall, he said customers have missed the feeling of trying on a pair of shoes in person.
“With this warm weather outside and shots going into arms, traffic is building,” Weiner said. “Traffic is definitely picking up. It is not going to be easy going forward but we are here. And we are back, and we are growing. We’re looking forward to living our lives, and we are looking forward to loving people. We are looking forward to seeing people at Saxon Shoes.”