women s water polo pictures one of Boulder’s oldest businesses
Before there were Air Jordans, Vibram’s Five Fingers, Niwot based Crocs and you could get a pair of flip flops at Walgreen’s for $10, there was Perry’s Shoe Shop in Boulder.
Opened in 1922, the business is one of the city’s oldest. But, come October, it will be one of Nederland’s newest, as the retail and repair operation packs up and heads west for higher altitude and lower rents.
The shop’s third generation owners, George and Becky Perry, made the decision after learning their roughly $4,500 a month rent at 1711 15th St. would be doubling when the lease ended in two years.
“I think $4,000 is reasonable but $9,000 is not,” George Perry said. “For shoe repair? How much can you charge for a pair of shoes?”
Commercial rents in Boulder, particularly in the downtown core, have risen quickly in recent years, along with home prices and residential rents. Retail space can go for as much as $45 to $50 a square foot in the most desirable locations along the walking mall.
Nederland’s prices are harder to pin down, said CREA managing broker and CEO Michael Ackerman, because there is so little commercial space and availabilities are rare. However, in general, he said, the cost of space is “about half that of Boulder.”
Perry’s Shoe Shop will be 114 E Second St., currently home to Mountain Rose Hair Care. The owner of that business,
Robbin Rose, retired. A call to the salon’s old number bears a message: “It was nice getting to know ya.'”The move is a personal one as well for the Perrys, who will live above the shop. They sold the family home, which belonged to George’s grandfather, George Warren Perry, who also founded the business. George Warren Perry Jr. took it over in the ’60s, followed by current day George Perry in the ’90s after some hesitation.
“I just wanted to be a ski bum in Jackson Hole,” he said. “I wasn’t real happy about it at the beginning, but then I started to love it.”
Perry’s Shoe Shop hasn’t been continuously open during that time: the first George Warren Perry had a repair shop that he sold in ’59. His son, who dabbled in shoe repair for a few years, restarted the business in ’63.
The company bounced around downtown over the past 95 years, from Broadway to Pearl to Walnut, where it stayed for 22 years before moving to 15th Street in 2009. Business has remained steady, Perry said; in the busy winter months, it may take up to a month for a repair.
“We try to encourage people to bring winter boots in the summer so they don’t have to wait and we’re not as backed up,” he said. “But it doesn’t work.”
The Perrys who met when Becky began working at the shop in ’76 are sad to leave Boulder, but excited to move closer to their daughter, Emily Perry, a Nederland resident and likely fourth generation owner. The mountain town’s residents have already extended a welcome: Developer Ron Mitchell sent a cake and a box with instructions not to open it until the move is complete.
“A lot of people from Nederland already come here,” said Becky Perry. They began revealing themselves once the shop posted signs about the impending move. “We didn’t realize how many people come from the mountains to do business with us.”
Boulder customers still have myriad options to get worn out soles to Ned. Art Cleaners and Boulder Cleaners serve as drop off locations throughout the county. Becky suggests stopping by on a ski trip to Eldora.
Mail is an option, too. The shop keeps a map with pins to track the far flung locales from whence torn shoes come. Packages have come from nearly every continent, from places such as Finland,
Australia and Guam.