Downtown Rochester will see a major migration of Mary Janes, moccasins, mukluks and more this weekend as a crew of between 20 to 30 people march a mountain of shoes to a new storefront.
O&B Shoes will hit the sidewalk this weekend as staff, family and friends move more than $61,000 in shoes, boots and sandals less than a block to the store's new downtown home.
"It's going to be a total team effort," said owner Don "Sole Man" Hadley. "We're excited about it. It's going to be a new adventure for me, my staff and my customers."
If everything goes as planned, O&B should re-open on Monday or possibly Tuesday.
O&B Shoes, which has been a downtown feature for 82 years, is moving north from its long-time spot on the corner of 100 First Ave. SW to a new space at 19 First Ave. SW. That's the street-level spot in the Kahler Hotel building where Hanny's Men's Wear operated for decades until that store closed last year. Hanny's still has stores in the Kahler subway.
A crew of between 20 to 30 people is slated to walk the boxes and boxes of footwear to move the 6,000-square-foot storefront. The store will be accessible from the subway, as Hanny's was, although that access won't go through Hanny's store under the space, he said.
O&B, which was founded by Leo Olson and Herbert Bergerson in 1933, has been in its present location since 1976. Its previous downtown spot at 217 Broadway Ave. S. was damaged in a fire.
The prominent spot on the Peace Plaza in the heart of downtown has made O&B a well-known landmark and regular stop for returning Mayo Clinic patients.
No new tenant for the 100 First Ave. SW storefront has been announced by the building's owner, George Psomas, though signage has gone up for Cloud 9 Spa in the adjacent one. O&B operates its O&B Athletic and O&E (Odds & Ends) Bargain Room in that space on First Avenue.