Hampshire Life Editor’s Note: Ted’s Boot Shop

  • Kathy Hudson, owner of Ted’s Boot Shop in Northampton, waits on a long time customer, Judy Boyle. Carol Lollis

Published: 11/29/2019 9:53:05 AM

As writer Jim Kaplan says in this week’s Hampshire Life cover story, Northampton, known as “Paradise City,” is struggling with a reputation that its Main Street is becoming a “Paradise Lost.” Whether fair or not, a myriad of stories has come out over the past several years looking at the vacant storefronts in the downtown area and wondering what the trend might be. Following high profile closures of Faces, Viva Fresh Pasta, and ConVino earlier this year, the Daily Hampshire Gazette completed a three-part series exploring this topic.

But regardless of the reasons many point to regarding various downtown businesses closing — competition from online retailers, high rents, a lack of parking, a perceived issue with local panhandlers — Ted’s Boot Shop seems to have bucked the trend. For more than 50 years, Ted’s has been a staple of Northampton’s Main Street, having outlasted nearly all of the businesses around it.

Kaplan’s story delves into what the family behind the business has done to keep itself relevant in changing times, and what keeps customers returning to buy their shoes there year after year. Some of it seems to be the product — feet come in many shapes and sizes and shoes need to fit them all, and that means trying them on. But beyond that, Kaplan reported on how those in the store are “people people” and committed to helping those who come through their doors.

The holiday shopping season is now upon us (this issue comes out on Black Friday), and it is important to remember to shop local. As we mourn the loss of local businesses and restaurants that close, let’s look to the example of places like Ted’s Boot Shop, which have figured out how to make it work on Main Street. And also keep an eye on new local businesses to support.

— Dave Eisenstadter




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