Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Januzzi's Shoes

It's back to school time, when parents traditionally might have to buy their kids some new shoes among other things. Which brings me to today's topic!

Here's a Lorain icon that everyone will recognize: Januzzi's Shoes, which was located at 26th Street and Broadway. The photo is from a Lorain Journal business section ad that ran on July 21, 1969.

At the time, the store's ad boasted that it was Ohio's largest independent shoe store and that it carried more than 60 of the top names in fashion shoes. Everyone in Lorain shopped at Januzzi's at some time or another.

When shopping for shoes, my family would always include Januzzi's along with all the other stores around town and at Midway Mall, such as Regal Shoes, Picway Shoe Stores or Nobil Shoes.

It's funny to think about the shoe shopping experience back then. Upon entering the shoe display area, you would be paired with a shoe salesman. He would measure your foot to begin the process, with one of those gadgets shown at left.

Once your shoe size was established, the salesman was at your beck and call, bringing out different styles and sizes.

I really hated shopping for shoes back then. New shoes were usually uncomfortable, and the endless tramping around the store to make sure the shoes fit seemed silly. Curiously, the left shoe never felt or fit the same as the right shoe. Plus, the salesman always seemed to crush your big toe with his thumb when he was feeling around trying to determine if the shoe fit!

Little did we know that forty years after this ad ran, almost all of the old-time shoe stores would be gone, along with customized, personal service. You're mostly on your own now.

But, the Januzzi legacy continues with Januzzi Shoes for You on Leavitt Road in Amherst. The company website has a short history of the company here.

As for the former Januzzi building on Broadway, it had a variety of purposes after being a shoe store, including a craft store, a thrift store and a carpet store. Here's a current view; the menacing sky makes it look even more forlorn.


Anonymous said...

We used to go to Januzzi's and they would write your shoe sizes down on an index card to keep track of them. They also had a store near the Sheffield Centre.

John Kovacs

-Alan D Hopewell said...

We often went to McKees, downtown on 5th street...they still had one of those X-ray machines, although it was turned off. Sometimes, we went to Nobil.

Mary Springowski said...

I remember going to Mr. Januzzi's! I was so badly pigeon-toed that I had braces in my shoes. He was so kind to a little girl! He would soften my shoes for me "Break them in a little" and always had a treat for me! He knew I was desolate over the fact that I had to have the sturdy, heavy saddle shoes so that they could hold the braces when all I really wanted was a delicate, pretty pair of feminine black patent leather Mary Janes! Maybe that explains my shoe fetish now! And not a single pair of saddle shoes in the bunch!