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Stepping out of a 50-year legacy: Farewell of Joseph's Shoes amidst City Center Plaza's transformation

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 18:13:18-05
  • The redevelopment of City Center Plaza into Fox Commons has led to the closure of longstanding businesses, including Joseph's Shoes.
  • Owner Perry Vanderloop attributes his closure to a combination of construction challenges, and a difficult few months.
  • Despite the emotional farewell from customers, Vanderloop plans to take a break before considering new ventures, marking the end of an era for Joseph's Shoes.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

I’ve told you a few other stories like this one. The redevelopment of City Center Plaza into Fox Commons has catapulted a few local businesses into early closure. Like Joseph’s Shoes. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter sharing the story of what’s behind these ‘going out of business’ signs.

Empty storefronts and boarded up doors line much of College Ave between Morrison and Appleton Street. Between those streets sits City Center Plaza and inside, is Joseph’s Shoes.

“We’ve been in Appleton a long time,” said owner Perry Vanderloop, who added it's been 50 years.

“Just fell in love with good products and people and it’s like every year it got more fun,” said Vanderloop.

He credits his success to his faith and...

“Fantastic people,” said Vanderloop.

That emotion is shared by customers wishing him farewell.

“Good luck to you with whatever you decide to do in the future,” said a Joseph’s Shoes customer.

“Thank you thank you so much,” said Vanderloop.

Vanderloop and other businesses in City Center Plaza like former Murray Photo, attribute part of the reason for closure to the redevelopment. But he says it was a perfect storm. A couple hard months and a lack of accessibility with no end to construction in sight.

“When you go through heavy construction like this it’s just really difficult, there’s a lot of moving parts,” said Vanderloop.

The Boldt company says ultimately, Vanderloop chose to terminate his lease.

“In his agreement, he did have opportunities to terminate the lease if the conditions weren't, didn’t allow for him to, or if he desired to back out of the lease,” said Vanderloop.

A decision he didn't come to easily after keeping the family business alive for decades.

“I’m not the boss, our customers are the boss, those are the ones we were here to please and I think we did,” said Vanderloop.

As for what lies ahead:

“I’m gonna rest for a while. Probably find something else to do for three or four years,” said Vanderloop.

Finding new life in the changes, just like City Center Plaza. No last day of business has been set, but Vanderloop says it will be about the end of February.