By Nancy Rineman
Atlantic News, Thursday, November 2, 2000.
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News Photo by McGee]
HAMPTON -- After 20 years in the retail shoe business, Bob Gordon, owner of Gordon Shoe Store in downtown Hampton, has decided to retire, and the 30-year-old Lafayette Road business bearing his name is now officially up for sale.
Gordon said he would like to see the store continue as a going shoe store business, if possible, maintaining the family shoe store notoriety the business has enjoyed these past three decades.
Gordon's retirement announcement comes not long after his wife, Nancy, enacted a similar plan when she sold the neighboring Bib & Crib Shoppe earlier this year. Prior to that, its counterpart, the Prep Shop, closed its doors.
Taking a moment to reflect on customers and business over the years, Gordon said he doesn't think things have changed that much as far as clientele is concerned. With shoe and boot styles in stock catering from babies to seniors, Gordon said he especially enjoys fitting the children of customers who enjoyed the same service from him when they were young. The Stride Rites shoes popular when Gordon's Shoe Store opened in 1970 still remain his best brand today, and while there were episodes of occasional unhappy junior customers, Bob Gordon said their fussing was "music to his ears."
"I will miss seeing these kids growing up," Gordon said, sitting for a moment in one of the black captain's chairs which form a semi-circle in his store. "That's the most fun of it -- just looking at the babies' faces."
Bob Gordon was hard pressed to say exactly what will occupy his time, once his daily appearance at Gordon's Shoe Store ends. He waxed philosophical for a moment, saying he felt plans made often don't materialize. He did admit to the possibility of travel, and said that bowling and reading are among the things he likes to do in his spare time now. Following football is another favorite, Gordon claimed, with the Miami Dolphins being his team of choice.
As the familiar jingling of bells hanging from the door at the 442 Lafayette Road landmark signal the arrival of a customer, the soft strains of a popular Newburyport AM radio station drifting through the store, Bob Gordon, at age 72, prepares to begin a new chapter in his life, with memories of satisfied customers and business neighbors sure to remain etched in his mind.