Saxon Shoes started out as a tiny shop in Richmond nearly 70 years ago before growing into Virginia’s largest full-service shoe store. On Monday, the company’s CEO and president said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led Saxon to file for bankruptcy protection.
Gary Weiner, Saxon’s CEO and president, told 8News that the pandemic has devastated the retail industry. He noted that sales are down roughly 60 percent for the year.
“The retail environment has been tough,” he said. “Corona pushed us and so many others before us to this tipping point.”
Saxon Shoes, which started as a small shop on Grace Street until it grew into two big stores at Short Pump Towne Center and the Village at Spotsylvania Towne Center in Fredericksburg, has been a family tradition for Weiner.
“This business was started in 1953 by my mother and father literally on a shoe string,” Weiner said.
The company has been the place where generations of families have come for footwear and accessories. However, the pandemic has taken its toll on the family-owned business, leading to the decision to file for bankruptcy protection.
“We are in a position to take a breather on our debt payments, people that we owe money to. And it gives us a chance to restructure our entire business,” Weiner told 8News.
The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond includes the stores in Short Pump in Henrico County and the Spotsylvania County location, listing the range of $1 million to $10 million in assets and liabilities. The shoe store tried to think outside the box amid the COVID-19 shutdown.
“My daughter and others put together Facebook Lives,” Weiner explained. “We put together a new website. We did curbside pickup.”
However, Saxon’s niche is in-person shoe fittings. Cliff Morrissette is a longtime customer and said he would hate to see Saxon Shoes shutter. Morrissette told 8News he hopes the reorganizing saves the store he believes always puts out quality.
“I always make a pass through Saxon,” he said. “I like their stuff they have a lot of selection, you can find things here you can’t find somewhere else.”